Justin Turner was selected as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ nominee for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award, which marks a fourth time in the last five years has been up for the prestigious honor. Turner was previously nominated in 2017, 2018 and 2020.
“It’s obviously something that’s really special to myself and my wife Kourtney. Something we take a lot of pride in is giving back to our community, helping people who are less fortunate, people in need, helping people get up after getting knocked down, get back on their feet,” he said.
“To be named the nominee on this team, with a lot of guys who do great things in our community, is obviously pretty special and something we don’t take for granted.”
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a Major League player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Each club has a nominee and a league-wide winner is then selected from the group of 30 players. Turner is yet to be selected as the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, but he and Kourtney Turner have not allowed that to dissuade their efforts in the slightest.
The couple founded the Justin Turner Foundation in 2016 and regularly given back to the local community and those in need through various charitable events, surprise visits and donations.
“I think it makes it a little extra special,” Turner said of supporting his hometown. “Growing up in the Long Beach-Lakewood area, getting to play not too far from there, it makes it even more special.”
Turner’s commitment in giving back is unquestioned, and a trait he credited Clayton Kershaw and others for helping set an example.
“David Wright was the main one in New York, Adrian Gonzalez always went above and beyond when he was here with the Dodgers as well, and Kersh is one of the ultimate examples for me,” Turner said.
“Him and Ellen do incredible things not only here, but in Dallas and all around the world. I’ve had some pretty good guys kind of lead the way for me in that aspect.”
Turner proud to set standard
One byproduct of the Turners being active in the community is the influence its had on others in the Dodges clubhouse.
“I think it’s important to understand obviously we have a job to do, and that’s to go out and perform under the lights. But it’s more than just baseball,” Turner said. “It’s a responsibility to our fans, to our communities, to get out and give back and help people in need.
“Obviously that’s the biggest priority, but the other thing that motivates me is being an example, setting a bar and being influential on other guys in our clubhouse to get out in the community, help, start their own foundations. It’s been really cool seeing Kenley start a foundation, Will Smith’s done some stuff, Walker Buehler is doing charity events, Chris Taylor started his foundation and had a virtual concert.
“Seeing it spread through the clubhouse is something I’m extremely proud of. I know when I came over here, the bar was already set high with Clayton and everything Kershaw’s Challenge has done. Before I was here I was with the Mets, and David Wright had his foundation.
“I was around guys who set the bar pretty high as far as giving back to the community, and I wanted to fall in those footsteps. I know Clayton is still here and does a great job, but I feel like it’s my duty to help him raise that bar for other guys in the clubhouse to get out and be impactful in our community.”
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