America was left in a state of disbelief on Wednesday when Justin Turner returned to the field to celebrate the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the MLB World Series, despite testing positive for COVID-19.
Turner was pulled from Wednesday’s Game 6 in the eighth inning when it was revealed he had tested positive.
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Speaking after the game, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Turner was immediately placed into isolation when the Dodgers got the results of his latest test.
However the reality was very different.
Turner was back on the field celebrating with his teammates after the game, holding the World Series trophy that other players had been kissing.
He was also seen kissing his wife, hugging teammates and posing for photos without a mask on.
Fans and commentators were shocked by what they were seeing, taking to social media in disbelief.
Sarah Spain of ESPN wrote: “It’s totally brutal and I feel awful for him and the team that this is happening but ... what are we doing here?
“What are we doing? Turning the World Series into a super spreader event feels NOT IDEAL.”
Sportsnet reporter Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote: “Seems unwise, avoidable for Justin Turner to be around so many others hours after testing positive.”
NBA reporter Marc D’Amico added: “My mind is blown that this chain of events took place.”
While The Star Ledger reporter Brendan Kuty wrote: “Rob Manfred says MLB learned during the game that Justin Turner had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“How does that happen? How do they let players on the field without knowing the results of the latest tests? MLB has SO much explaining to do. MLB screwed up.”
MLB to investigate Justin Turner’s actions
MLB has since announced an investigation into the controversy.
“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,” a statement read.
“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 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.”
After a month in MLB’s postseason bubble, Turner twice tested positive for coronavirus in what became the season’s final hours.
At that time, Turner was directed to an area isolated from teammates, team and league officials and, eventually, family members who were allowed to gather on the field at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Turner, according to witnesses, chose to leave that area against the orders of on-hand medical experts and league officials.
Upon entering the field postgame, by then crowded with players, coaches, wives and children revelling in the Dodgers’ first championship in 32 years, Turner was told by league personnel to return to isolation.
He refused, with several of his Dodgers teammates supporting Turner’s presence, according to witnesses, forcing league security officials to choose whether to expose themselves to the virus or allow Turner to proceed.
After the game, those in the Dodgers’ travelling party were tested, and Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays personnel were tested again on Wednesday.
As the teams are no longer subject to MLB bubble requirements, they will determine their own travel arrangements.
Both teams had charters scheduled to return to their home cities on Thursday and would be subject to local regulations there.
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