Justin Turner's blatant disregard of COVID protocols in World Series celebration invites MLB investigation

Corey Seidman
·3 min read

Strange Justin Turner situation invites an investigation from MLB originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

MLB improbably completed its 2020 season Tuesday night, crowning the Dodgers as World Series champions for the first time since 1988.

When the Marlins and Cardinals were missing full weeks of games in early August after COVID outbreaks, did you think MLB would reach the finish line? Be honest ...

A day after the Dodgers snapped their 32-year championship drought, one of their players is distracting from the attention, in the news for all the reasons MLB does not want.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner celebrated the championship with teammates on the field Tuesday night with hugs and handshakes. The issue was that Turner was removed from Game 6 and placed into isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. He blatantly disregarded safety protocols to celebrate with teammates. From his perspective, it's the culmination of a seven-year run with the Dodgers that finally ended in a title. He's a free agent, too, so it might be his last time on the field with these guys. It's obvious why he wanted to be with his teammates in that moment.

But this obviously cannot happen, and it will not be surprising if Turner is fined or suspended by the league, which has launched an investigation. This is exactly the kind of situation MLB and sports, in general, have tried to avoid by sitting full teams down and rescheduling games. What happens now if multiple Dodgers players test positive? What about everyone who came into contact with people Turner came into contact with?

MLB has launched an investigation. Here was their statement Wednesday afternoon:

"Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night's game. Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers' victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others. While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner's decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.

"The Commissioner's Office is beginning a full investigation into this matter and will consult with the Players Association within the parameters of the joint 2020 Operations Manual.

"Last night, nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers' traveling party. Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities."

On October 23, MLB reached 54 consecutive days without a player testing positive for COVID-19. At that time, the league stated that only 91 of 172,740 collected samples were positive (0.05%). Of those 91 tests, fewer than 60 were players.

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