In the past week, COVID-19 has sent the world into a tailspin, causing businesses and institutions worldwide to put everything on pause as we try to slow the spread of a global pandemic. The NBA has found itself at the center of it after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive and prompted the league to go on indefinite hiatus.
Since then, two other players — Donovan Mitchell and Christian Wood — have also tested positive for coronavirus. Mitchell is, of course, Gobert’s teammate on the Jazz, and though he hasn’t said anything directly, there was reportedly an understandable level of anger and frustration at Gobert among his teammates, after a viral video showed him carelessly touching microphones and recorders at a press conference last week.
The NBA has since announced that they would not fine or suspend Gobert for his actions, and he has subsequently attempted to make amends by pledging a substantial donation to arena workers in Utah, Oklahoma City, and his home nation of France. It’s been a tough week for the former Defensive Player of the Year, but fortunately, he has at least one ally among his peers. In a FaceTime interview with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report, Lakers guard Danny Green was one of the few to come to Gobert’s defense.
“I don’t think he should be blamed or bashed as much as he is.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 14, 2020
“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,” Green said. “He probably should’ve been more careful, but it’s not all his fault. You got to look at the positive of things. This was going to happen regardless of whether it was gonna happen to him or somebody else. Somebody in the NBA was gonna catch the virus and give us a wake-up call. I think it was needed, it was necessary for us to — not just for the basketball world, but for the rest of the world — to take it seriously. Adam Silver made the correct call, so I’m glad that things happened the way they did. I don’t think he should be blamed or bashed as much as he is. It could happen to anybody.”
With the focus now on slowing the spread of the virus, several players around the league, including Gobert and Mitchell, have taken to social media to issue PSA’s meant to inform fans of the most effective ways to avoid contracting and/or potentially spreading the disease by way of social distancing. Beyond that, we have to take everything on a daily basis until it can be adequately contained and everything can go back to normal.