Nov. 6 (UPI) -- MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner will not be disciplined for returning to the field to celebrate his team's World Series win after testing positive for COVID-19.
Manfred released a lengthy statement Friday -- alongside one from Turner and another from Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten -- in which he highlighted the findings of the league's investigation and also took partial responsibility for the incident.
"We all have made mistakes as we navigated these unprecedented challenges and have tried to learn from those mistakes so they are not repeated," Manfred said. "With this in mind, I am closing this matter by applauding Justin for accepting responsibility, apologizing and making a commitment to set a positive example going forward."
In the late stages of Game 6 on Oct. 27, the Dodgers were informed that Turner's previously inconclusive test result had came back positive, which led to his removal from the game before the start of the eighth inning. His wife, Kourtney, also was removed from her seating area at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
In his statement, Turner wrote that he was "blindsided" by the news. He was forced to watch the final two innings from a television inside a doctor's office in the back of the Dodgers' clubhouse. Moments after the Dodgers clinched their championship victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, he asked if he could return to the field to take a photo with his wife.
"I assumed by that point that few people were left on the field," Turner said. "I was under the impression that team officials did not object to my returning to the field for a picture with my wife. 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.
"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."
Manfred said some of Turner's teammates "actively encouraged" him to leave the clubhouse and return to the field to celebrate, noting that "many teammates felt they had already been exposed" and were fine with additional exposure.
MLB previously scolded Turner for breaking protocol, saying that Turner "emphatically refused to comply" when officials asked him to leave the field. Manfred acknowledged Friday that the league "could have handled the situation more effectively."
"Mr. Turner has publicly recognized that his conduct was wrong and has expressed remorse for that conduct," Manfred said. "I have spoken to him personally and I know that he is extraordinarily upset by the incident.
"By all accounts, Justin is a leader in the clubhouse, a contributor to his community and a responsible person who was instrumental in the Dodgers diligently following the health protocols all season long."
Members of the Dodgers and Rays were tested for the coronavirus the night after the game and the following morning, with only a Rays family member testing positive. Both clubs traveled back to their respective cities later that afternoon.