Major League Baseball said Friday that Los Angeles Dodgers star Justin Turner will face no punishment for joining World Series victory celebrations with his teammates despite testing positive for Covid-19.
The veteran third baseman triggered an outcry following the Dodgers' series-clinching win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Arlington last week after posing with teammates soon after being put in isolation.
Turner was dramatically removed from game six after the seventh inning after MLB confirmed he had tested positive for Covid-19.
However, after being ushered into an isolation room, Turner later appeared on the field, at certain points without using a facemask, to pose with teammates for photographs.
In a statement last week, MLB accused Turner of "emphatically" ignoring safety protocols and said he had put everyone he came into contact with on the field at risk.
MLB commisioner Rob Manfred said in a statement on Friday, however, that the league would take no further action against Turner after investigating the circumstances of the safety breach.
Manfred said Turner had only returned to the field after teammates "actively encouraged" him to leave the isolation room to return to the field for a photo.
"Many teamates felt they had already been exposed to Mr. Turner and were prepared to tolerate the additional risk," Manfred said.
Turner also believed he had been given permission to return to the field by an unidentified Dodgers employee, although Manfred said that "may have been the product of a miscommunication."
Manfred, who described the post-game scene as "chaotic", added that the league 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."
Manfred said Turner had been "extraordinarily upset" by the incident, noting that he had been instrumental in ensuring that the Dodgers followed safety protocols throughout the season.
Turner, who described the situation as "surreal", said he believed most people had left the field when he sought permission to leave isolation.
"I will not make excuses for my conduct but I will describe my state of mind," Turner said. "In hindsight, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take that photo with my wife.
"I sincerely apologize to everyone on the field for failing to appreciate the risks of returning to the field. I have spoken with almost every teammate, coach, and staff member, and my intentions were never to make anyone uncomfortable or put anyone at further risk."