His apology stemmed from a March 9 incident in which he joked with members of the media by making sure to touch all the microphones and recording devices reporters had placed on the table in front of him as he left a news conference. In a video posted by the NBA on Sunday, he thanked everyone “for the positive energy” and said he was “feeling a little better every day.” He also admitted regret again about his actions.
“It’s all about protecting yourself,” he said, “and the people around you. I wish I would have [taken] this thing more seriously, and I hope everyone else [will] do so because we can do it together. Take care, and stay safe.”
He tested positive for the virus Wednesday evening, halting the Jazz’s scheduled game against the Thunder in Oklahoma City and, shortly after that surreal scene, precipitating the NBA’s decision to suspend the season indefinitely.
“I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis … mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment,” Gobert said in his post. “The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse.”
He added, “I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as a way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus.”
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I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus . I am under great care and will fully recover. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love.
On Saturday, the Jazz announced that Gobert was donating more than $500,000 to support the employee relief fund for Vivint Smart Home Arena and coronavirus-related social services in Utah, Oklahoma City and the French health-care system.
On Thursday, the Jazz announced that a second player had tested positive, after all members of the team’s traveling party had been tested. All-star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell subsequently confirmed he was that player, saying in his own Instagram post, “We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them.”
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Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test. We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them. I appreciate the authorities in Oklahoma who were helpful with the testing process and everyone from the @utahjazz who have been so supportive. I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help❤️🕷
Teams the Jazz had played in the past 10 days were urged to self-quarantine. Those include the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks. The Washington Wizards, who played the Jazz on Feb. 28, have also decided to self-quarantine. And, of course, it expands exponentially, with each of those teams playing other teams in the interim.
On Friday, Westerly, R.I., Police announced that a Rhode Island child who attended the Celtics’ home game against the Jazz on March 6 was one of two local juveniles who tested positive for covid-19. Police said the child who attended the game got an autograph from an NBA player who had the virus. NBC 10 in Providence identified the player as Gobert.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania and the Associated Press reported Saturday that Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood had tested positive for the coronavirus after he scored 30 points while matched up with Gobert during Detroit’s 111-105 loss to Utah on March 7. The Pistons later confirmed that a player had tested positive and was in self-isolation but did not name Wood.
Gobert, a 27-year-old from France, did his baffling gesture in an interview room, after the NBA barred media members from locker rooms because of the outbreak. Gobert sat at the table and took questions after the Jazz’s shoot-around, and he appeared to touch a number of mics and recording devices in mockery, defiance or ignorance of public health guidelines about preventing the spread of the illness.
Although ESPN reported that Gobert had not gone to Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena, he was in the city and ready to play had he tested negative. In addition to fellow players, there are referees, coaches and staff who have health concerns, as do fellow passengers on flights and guests in hotels in which the Jazz stayed. “Everyone,” the Associated Press reported, “he’s been on a plane with in recent days. Or shared a hotel elevator with. Or dined with. Or shook hands with. And so on, and so on.”
“Rudy Gobert,” Nuggets Coach Michael Malone told reporters Wednesday night with a rueful laugh. “You think: ‘This is not going to affect us. We’re the NBA.’ One of our players has the coronavirus. Who knows what that means for their team and the other teams that have been with them? You get really concerned for what’s going on, not just here in the NBA, but in the entire world. These are things you watch in movies.”
By ESPN’s count, all 30 NBA teams came into either direct or indirect contact with Gobert in the five days before he tested positive, and one owner reacted soberly when the league was shut down.
“It’s not about basketball or money,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Wednesday night. “If this thing is just exploding to the point where players and others have it, you have to think about your family and make sure you are doing this the right way. … Now it’s much more personal. … This is much bigger than the NBA.”
“I appreciate the authorities in Oklahoma who were helpful with the testing process and everyone from the [Jazz] who have been so supportive,” Mitchell said in his post Thursday. “I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help.”