Justin Turner Tests Positive for COVID Mid-Game Then Takes Off Mask to Celebrate Dodgers Win
Los Angeles Dodgers player Justin Turner was pulled from the World Series Game 6 after a positive COVID-19 result — but was spotted celebrating their victory with teammates afterward.
On Tuesday night, the 35-year-old third baseman was removed in the 8th inning, and after the game finished, MLB officials announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred later addressed Turner's positive test.
"It's a bittersweet night for us. We're glad to be done. I do think it's a great accomplishment by our players to get this season completed," he said at the end of the game. "But obviously, we're concerned when any of our players test positive."
The Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the 2020 World Series, which took place at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The historic win marked the first Dodgers championship victory since 1988.
On Twitter later in the evening, Turner wrote of his condition: "I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA #WorldSeriesChamps."
Photos captured after the game, however, showed Turner posing for pictures on the field with the trophy and his fellow teammates, with the athlete wearing a mask at times and sometimes going without one.
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According to ESPN, teammate Mookie Betts defended Turner celebrating with the team despite his positive COVID-19 result: "He's part of the team. Forget all that, he's part of the team. We're not excluding him from anything."
The Dodgers' president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he wasn't aware of the photos that showed Turner up close with others celebrating the victory, the outlet reports. "If there's people around him without a mask, that's not good optics at all," Friedman said.
"Now it's important we all test negative ... to make sure we don't go out and spread this to other people," he reportedly added.
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Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was awarded the MVP of the 2020 World Series. He said, according to ESPN, that Turner not being able to fully celebrate the win due to his diagnosis is "gut-wrenching."
"It hurts me. I can't imagine how he feels," said Seager. "If I could switch places with him right now, I would, because that man more than anybody deserves to take a picture with that trophy, celebrate with us, have his family around and enjoy this moment, and that got taken away from him, and that's not right. That doesn't sit well with me."
In a statement released on Wednesday night, MLB said in a statement that it was "clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others."
"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,” the statement read, according to the Washington Post. “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 with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply," the statement continued, noting that a "full investigation" has been launched.
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