MLB condemns Justin Turner, launches probe into COVID-19 defiance

Justin Turner’s decision to celebrate on the field after the Dodgers clinched the World Series despite having learned during the game he’d tested positive for COVID-19 could cost the third baseman.

MLB announced Wednesday the commissioner’s office had begun a full investigation into Turner’s actions after he “chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others.”

The former Mets infielder was removed from the Dodgers’ Game 6 win over the Rays in the eighth inning on Tuesday and put in isolation.

He broke the isolation when he entered the dugout and then went onto the field about an hour after the game ended, wearing a mask — which he later removed while taking a team picture on the field.

Turner was seen without a mask next to manager Dave Roberts, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and therefore more likely to suffer from complications if infected with the virus.

The Post’s Joel Sherman reported Turner and some teammates resisted MLB security’s request for Turner to leave the field.

A maskless Justin Turner, who had to exit Game 6 after testing positive for COVID-19, manager Dave Roberts and other maskless players pose for a team picture after the Dodgers' 3-1 World Series-clinching victory over the Rays.
A maskless Justin Turner, who had to exit Game 6 after testing positive for COVID-19, manager Dave Roberts and other maskless players pose for a team picture after the Dodgers’ 3-1, World Series-clinching victory over the Rays.AP

“Him being a free agent, I don’t think anyone was going to stop him from going out,’’ Dodgers’ team president Andrew Friedman told reporters after the game. “I think he was mindful of other people, especially other people he hasn’t seen around.’’

As of Wednesday afternoon, Turner hadn’t commented on the situation, but MLB clearly wasn’t satisfied with Friedman’s explanation of Turner’s actions.

“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,’’ the Commissioner’s Office said in a statement. “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.’’

Nasal swabs were given to Dodgers’ traveling party Tuesday night after Turner violated policy and both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again Wednesday and cleared to fly home, according to USA Today.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the initial round of post-game tests turned up no additional positives among players on either team and one Rays’ family member tested positive.

Turner’s stunning breach of protocol came after he seemed to be at the forefront of preventing a breakout on the Dodgers earlier in the season. In July, he texted a list of strict protocols the Dodgers would enforce to SportsNetLA’s Alanna Rizzo, including the importance of wearing face masks in the dugout, limiting the amount of people in the dugout and “readdressed high fives and handshakes.”

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