MLB Confirms Infected Player 'Refused to Comply'

Justin Turner violated MLB coronavirus protocols, league says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2020 1:43 AM CDT
Probe Launched Into Infected Dodger Player's Maskless Celebration
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and third baseman Justin Turner pose for a group picture after the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 to win the baseball World Series, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Justin Turner's maskless celebration on the field after the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series—just two innings after he was pulled from the game due to his coronavirus test coming back positive—was in clear disregard of Major League Baseball's COVID-19 protocols, the league says in a statement cited by ESPN. The MLB statement confirms much of what has been reported about the incident, including the fact that "when MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply." An investigation has been launched, and sources tell ESPN the 35-year-old third baseman, who became a free agent as soon as the Dodgers' season ended, could face a suspension. NBC News notes the Dodgers initially "downplayed" the incident, noting many on the field would already have been in Turner's contact tracing network.

Sources also say the league will investigate whether any Dodgers officials or personnel assisted Turner in getting back on the field; he had initially been isolated after the test results came back. He and his wife remained in Arlington, where his wife has so far tested negative; the rest of the team tested negative and flew back home. Turner will eventually fly on a private plane, the AP reports. The Tampa Bay Rays also tested negative, with the exception of the wife of one player, who remained in Arlington with her contacts while her husband, who tested negative, flew home with the team. Turner was being slammed by many on Twitter, especially considering he'd bemoaned the fact that he "couldn't be out there to celebrate with my guys." He has not spoken out since that tweet, which also reported he is asymptomatic. (Columnists were similarly none too happy.)

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