Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert has tested positive for the Coronavirus, per The Athletic’s NBA insider Shams Charania.
For obvious reasons, the NBA, which had already been planning on taking measures to make their games safe from the pandemic, has moved quickly to suspend the season after tonight’s games.
Gobert’s Lapse in Judgment
Gobert missed Tuesday night’s game with what was reported to be an illness. During a pre-game press conference, he purposely touched every reporter’s microphone and recorders in a joking manner, despite the NBA instituting a rule that prohibited members of the media from coming closer than six feet to any player.
Because of his actions, there could be even more complications with members of the media and others who came in contact with him on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Immediate Testing for Other NBA Players
Extra precautions and immediate testing has begun on players present for the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder game that was delayed after the announcement. According to Thunder beat reporter, OKC star Chris Paul was told to back away as he approached inquiring about Gobert’s well-being before he was informed of the severity of the situation.
All players on both teams were quarantined to their locker rooms and are being tested for the virus. Former NBA player and active Tweeter Rex Chapman posted this to explain the seriousness and potential fallout from Gobert’s diagnosis.
A Work Stoppage Unlike Any Other in Sports History
This is an unprecedented development in American sports. We’ve seen work stoppages in sports due to disagreements between leagues and player associations, but never because of the spread of a virus. At this point, it is unclear when the NBA season will resume, but stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
On another, but perhaps equally as serious note, once Gobert recovers from the virus, it remains to be seen if any of the reporters who were in contact with him have the illness, and whether they move to take some sort of legal action against Gobert for his reckless, though non-malicious behavior.
It is likely Gobert will show sincere remorse for his actions, but without a question, it was an unfortunate bit of negligence on his part.
At the time of the suspension, the NBA was a month away from its postseason, and the Jazz were in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 41-23 record. If the season can resume later in 2020, the Jazz’s record and placement in the postseason would likely be unaffected. However, obviously, there are much bigger issues to work through than sports.