Rudy Gobert upset over narrative surrounding his role in NBA shutdown
The NBA shut down the 2019-20 season on March 11 amid the news that Rudy Gobert had tested positive for the coronavirus, and the Utah Jazz star is now pushing back at the unflattering narrative that places what he believes is an inordinate amount of blame on his role in the league ceasing operations.
Soon after NBA commissioner Adam Silver declared that the 2019-20 NBA season would be placed on indefinite hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Gobert became the central figure in the shutdown, but not only for his positive test.
Gobert spoke out against the backlash during a recent interview with Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.
“The media portrayed it like I caused the NBA to shut down instead of saying that it’s a pandemic and Rudy Gobert tested positive,” Gobert said. “For a lot of people who don’t think further than what’s put in their faces, they really thought I brought the coronavirus to the United States.”
Gobert behaved questionably during a press conference in the days ahead of his positive diagnosis in March when he infamously touched reporters’ recording equipment laid out on a table.
NBA is suspending its season “until further notice” after Rudy Gobert of Jazz reportedly contracted the #coronavirus. What has make it worse is that he deliberately touched all the mics a few days ago during a press briefing to tell the public that the disease was not a big deal. pic.twitter.com/sSd97adIxr— Ezra Cheung (@ezracheungtoto) March 12, 2020
Gobert understands how the video presented completely poor optics but hopes his actions since can help change people’s perspective of him.
“It was hard for me to see so many people question my character based on one video,” Gobert said. “That was a big learning experience. I know who I am. People around me know who I am. Everyone is going to have a different perception and opinion of you. If I start putting my energy into that, I’m going to be living a very painful life.”
Gobert’s antics became the source of significant friction between himself and Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell, who later tested positive for COVID-19 as well.
Gobert, however, recently insisted that he and Mitchell are now “on the same page” as the Jazz prepared for this week’s 22-team season resumption at the Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.