Los Angeles Dodgers player Justin Turner sparked criticism on Oct. 27 by running onto the field to celebrate his teammates after winning the World Series. MLB officials had pulled him from the field earlier in the game due to a positive COVID-19 test, but Turner still mingled with other players. at times not wearing a mask. Now he has apologized for doing so.
"I will not make excuses for my conduct but I will describe my state of mind," Turner said in a statement. "Winning the World Series was my lifelong dream and the culmination of everything I worked for in my career. After waiting in the isolation room while my teammates celebrated on the field, I asked whether I was permitted to return to Sheffield with my wife in order to take a photograph. I assumed at that point that few people were left on the field. I was under the impression that team officials did not object to my returning to the field for a picture with my wife.
Major League Baseball has completed its investigation of the events following the Los Angeles Dodgers Victory in Game Six of the World Series. The following statements from MLB, Justin Turner, and the Dodgers were released today. pic.twitter.com/cVu1E6g7lT— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) November 6, 2020
"However, what was intended to be a photo, capturing the two of us, turned into several greetings and photos where I briefly and unwisely removed my mask," Turner continued. "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."
MLB conducted an investigation into Turner's actions following the World Series victory and the subsequent celebration. Commissioner Rob Manfred then released a statement and said that the third baseman deserved some of the blame, but he was not alone. Manfred also explained that MLB could have done a better job "communicating" the protocol with Turner.
"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 in his statement. The Commissioner also said that the league will not punish Turner for celebrating with his teammates. He instead applauded the player for "taking responsibility."
Following the World Series, the Dodgers had a minor outbreak among members of the team. Five people initially tested positive before another four joined the list. The team did not reveal the identities of those infected, nor did it reveal whether Turner was among the group.