On Wednesday night, the NBA’s tentative plans to continue their season without fans in arenas quickly shifted to a one-month season suspension after it was discovered that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, or the coronavirus.
Since then, two other basketball players — Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz and Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons — have tested positive for the coronavirus, but Gobert hasn’t gotten the same sympathy that Mitchell and Wood have because of how careless (and some would argue reckless) Gobert was leading up to his diagnosis.
Video shows Rudy Gobert, an NBA player who reportedly tested positive for coronavirus, touching microphones with his hands after speaking with reporters on Monday https://t.co/ekxauQo8KV pic.twitter.com/pd7Q9vJkCz— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 12, 2020
Naturally, that clip has been used to point the finger at Gobert for the suspension, but not everyone thinks he deserves the criticism he’s been getting. In fact, in an interview with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report, Lakers sharpshooter Danny Green said that the Gobert controversy is a blessing in disguise:
“I feel like people are blaming him for a lot of things when obviously he was a little careless at times but who’s to say that’s necessarily the reason why that’s happened? He probably should have been more, more careful, but it’s not all his fault. Mind you, you got look at the positive of things: This was gonna happen to him or somebody else. Somebody in the NBA was gonna catch and give us a wake up call. I think it was needed, I think it was necessary for us — not just the basketball world, but for the rest of the world to take it seriously, the severity of it ...
“Obviously the carelessness of it, I don’t think he should be blamed or bashed as much as he is — I mean, it could happen to anybody. Obviously they’re showing clips — they can find clips of anything from any time of him being a little careless. But I’m sure a lot of people — not just him and guys in, throughout the league — are still living their lives the way they should, and that’s just every day, the same way.”
It’s true that someone in the NBA would have likely caught the coronavirus if Gobert didn’t, but that doesn’t excuse his actions, and Gobert rightfully issued an apology to the people he put at risk via Twitter on Thursday.
The NBA will not fine or suspend Gobert for his actions leading up to his diagnosis, according to a report by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports on Thursday.
The Lakers were scheduled to play the Jazz twice this upcoming week — once in Utah on Monday and again in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Whether or not the Lakers will play those games will be determined when the NBA returns from its hiatus, which won’t be for at least another month. Stay tuned for updates.