Los Angeles Dodger third baseman Justin Turner is under fire for celebrating his team’s World Series victory after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Tuesday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the 35-year-old baseball player was pulled mid-game after MLB officials announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
At the end of the game, the L.A. team defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the 2020 World Series, their first championship victory since 1988.
However, Turner was seen returning to the field to take a team picture.
As seen in footage from Fox Sports, Turner sits next to manager Dave Roberts — who has survived Hodgkin's lymphoma — and takes off his mask.
Justin Turner returns to the field for the team picture. pic.twitter.com/NmXBbU7Mo7— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 28, 2020
Turner was also seen hugging Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and holding up the Commissioner’s Trophy.
My heart breaks for Turner. Just brutal. pic.twitter.com/CVT9t0U1Rz— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) October 28, 2020
Tuesday night on Twitter, Turner thanks fans for their well-wishes but claimed he was not “out there to celebrate with my guys.”
Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA#WorldSeriesChamps— Justin Turner (@redturn2) October 28, 2020
After the game, Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers president of baseball operations, told reporters "I don't think there was anyone that was going to stop him from going out [onto the field].”
Though Friedman said that Turner was careful not to mingle with those he "hadn't already been in contact with," Friedman said he hadn't seen the photo of Turner sitting next to Roberts.
"If there are people around him without masks, that's not good optics at all," Friedman said, adding that he was "not sure" if the Dodgers would be able to travel back to Los Angeles from their bubble in Texas.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred also addressed Turner's health, saying at the end of the game, “It's a bittersweet night for us. We're glad to be done. I do think it's a great accomplishment by our players to get this season completed. But obviously, we're concerned when any of our players test positive."
Despite the controversy, Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts defended Turner’s celebration.
"He's part of the team," Betts was quoted saying via ESPN. "Forget all that, he's part of the team. We're not excluding him from anything."