A positive coronavirus test didn’t stop a Los Angeles Dodgers player from celebrating alongside his teammates just hours later — at one point without a mask — after they won the World Series.
Following an inconclusive test, additional test results for Justin Turner came back positive for COVID-19 during the second inning of Game 6 of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported. Turner had to be pulled from the game, according to ESPN.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said after the game Turner “was immediately isolated to prevent further spread,” according to NBC Sports.
But after the Dodgers emerged victorious and finished off the World Series, Turner was back on the field celebrating with his teammates. Turner wore a mask for part of the celebration, but he was seen removing it for pictures with the World Series trophy.
Here’s an exclusive look at Justin Turner celebrating on the field after testing positive for COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/EvhQqFUw35
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 28, 2020
“I feel great, no symptoms at all,” the 35-year-old third baseman tweeted after the game. “Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine.”
MLB released a statement Tuesday afternoon, claiming 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,” MLB stated. “When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”
The league went 58 days without a player testing positive for the coronavirus before Tuesday, The Athletic reported. The beginning of the shortened MLB season was marred by positive COVID-19 tests from multiple teams.
The World Series was played in Arlington, Texas, where the Dodgers and Rays were put in a bubble environment. It’s unclear how Turner tested positive for COVID-19.
Dodgers president Andrew Friedman said Turner wanted to join his teammates for a picture, according to USA Today.
“Him being a free agent, I don’t think anyone was going to stop him from going out,” Friedman said. “I think he was mindful of other people, especially other people he hasn’t seen around.”
But he added “it’s not good optics at all” that Turner was shown without a mask, according to NBC News.
Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts defended Turner, saying “he’s part of the team,” ESPN reported.
“Forget all that, he’s part of the team,” Betts said. “We’re not excluding him from anything.”
The Rays and Dodgers were tested again and had not been approved to travel back to their home cities as of Wednesday, MLB said.