MLB opens investigation on Turner for violating protocols

After clinching the 2020 World Series, Dodgers’ Justin Turner celebrated on the field with his teammates, despite being told he had COVID-19, leading MLB to start a full investigation on the veteran third baseman.

Turner was yanked by manager Dave Roberts in the seventh inning of game six of the World Series after being notified by MLB of Turner’s positive COVID-19 test, according to ESPN.

However, many news outlets reported that the test, which was taken on Monday, came back as “inconclusive” during the second inning. MLB then quickly processed Turner’s test from Tuesday, which then came back negative.

He was then quarantined in a doctor’s office, according to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

The fact MLB didn’t have the test results before the players took the field is absurd. There is no point in testing them every day if the results do not come back before the game starts.

After the Dodgers won, securing their first World Series title since 1988, Turner ignored MLB’s health and safety protocols when he decided to go on the field to celebrate with his teammates and family members.

Turner denied instructions by MLB to leave the field, selfishly putting numerous people at risk of COVID-19 including Roberts, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer, in 2010.

He took down his mask to pose for a team picture sitting directly between Roberts and Friedman, none of whom were wearing a mask or face covering.

Turner was also seen kissing his wife, Kourtney Pogue, on the field, but her COVID-19 test later came up as negative.

The Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays entourages were tested Tuesday night after the game. Zero players tested positive on both the Dodgers and Rays.

They were again tested Wednesday morning where a family member on the Rays tested positive.

Both teams were cleared to take flights back to their respective cities Wednesday afternoon.

“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,” MLB said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”

MLB and the Players Association agreed on an increasingly strict health and safety protocol before the 2020 season began. Turner, who once served on the executive board for the Players Association, broke protocol when disobeying MLB on Tuesday.

Turner seemed well on board with MLB’s strengthened health and safety protocols in August when large outbreaks occurred in the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals club houses.

He even came out with a more strict list of rules that he expected the Dodgers players and coaching staff to abide by, but apparently he felt those rules no longer applied to him.

There is no specified penalty stated in the agreement for violating the health and safety protocols, but MLB is discussing with the Players Association an adequate punishment for Turner.  

Nick Despotakis can be reached at [email protected] or @nick__despo on Twitter.