Just over one week removed from the Los Angeles Dodgers winning their first World Series since 1988, MLB has concluded their investigation into Justin Turner joining the team for a portion of their on-field celebration.
It caused a controversy due to Turner being removed in the eighth inning of Game 6 after MLB learned he tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Turner was placed in isolation before speaking with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to arrange for a photo opportunity with his wife Kourtney.
That wound up being the basis of MLB investigating the matter, which did not lead to any disciplinary action.
“As is often the case, our investigation revealed additional relevant information that, while not exonerating Mr. Turner from responsibility for his conduct, helps put into context why he chose to leave the isolation room and return to the field,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“First, Mr. Turner’s teammates actively encouraged him to leave the isolation room and return to the field for a photograph. Many teammates felt they had already been exposed to Mr. Turner and were prepared to tolerate the additional risk. Second, Mr. Turner believes that he received permission from at least one Dodger’s employee to return to the field to participate in a photograph.
“Although Mr. Turner’s belief may have been the product of a miscommunication, at least two Dodgers employees said nothing to Mr. Turner as he made his way to the field, which they admitted may have created the impression that his conduct was acceptable.
“Third, during the somewhat chaotic situation on the field, Mr. Turner was incorrectly told by an unidentified person that other players had tested positive creating the impression in Mr. Turner’s mind that he was being singled out for isolation.
“Finally, Major League Baseball could have handled the situation more effectively. For example, in retrospect, a security person should have been assigned to monitor Mr. Turner when he was asked to isolate, and Mr. Turner should have been transported from the stadium to the hotel more promptly.
“Mr. Turner has publicly recognized that his conduct was wrong and has expressed remorse for that conduct. I have spoken to him personally and I know that he is extraordinarily upset by the incident. By all accounts, Justin is a leader in the clubhouse, a contributor to his community and a responsible person who was instrumental in the Dodgers diligently following the health protocols all season long.”
Stan Kasten commends Turner
Dodgers president of baseball operations Stan Kasten further explained the events, noting the organization was at the forefront of adhering to protocols throughout the season.
“The events involving Justin Turner during the World Series celebration unfolded rapidly and chaotically, and were ultimately regrettable,” Kasten said. “The Dodger organization takes the health and safety of everyone associated with staging a baseball game extraordinarily seriously, and are committed to putting in place better processes for future events.
“Through much hard work and sacrifice, the Dodgers were successful at preventing COVID-19 infections throughout a very difficult 2020 season. No player was more instrumental in allowing the Dodgers to overcome the adversity created by the pandemic than Justin Turner, as he set an example for his teammates and advocated for enhanced safety measures that went above and beyond league requirements.
“Justin’s leadership played a large part in helping the Dodgers safely complete the entire season, which culminated in a World Championship. While the events following the conclusion of the World Series were unfortunate, there is no question about who Justin Turner is, and what he means to his teammates, the Dodger organization and the City of Los Angeles.
“A three-time nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award as Baseball’s top humanitarian, Justin and his wife Kourtney represent the best of the Dodger organization through the positive impact of the Justin Turner Foundation and their continued commitment to making Los Angeles a better place.”
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