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Hot debate sparks over NBA player for mocking coronavirus panic days before diagnosis

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Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert is under fire for mocking the coronavirus panic just days before being tested positive himself as the NBA officially suspended the rest of the game season.

Gobert was listed as “questionable” due to illness just before Wednesday’s game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder which was postponed, then canceled as reports revealed he had been diagnosed with the contagious COVID-19.

Following a pre-game meeting in an interview room earlier in the week, Gobert apparently made a joke of the league’s precautions by touching several microphones and the table before he left the room.

“As part of the Jazz’s COVID-19 response, shootaround availability was done in the ZBBC media room today rather than on the court. As Rudy Gobert got finished discussing the situation, he stood up, leaned over and made it a point to touch every mic and recorder in front of him,” Salt Lake Tribune‘s Eric Walden reported.

Gobert was not at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night but was reportedly at the hotel when the teams, who were moments from the tip-ff of the game, abruptly left the court. The packed arena was eventually emptied as the announcement was made about the game.

A player “tested negative for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection,” the Jazz said in a statement without naming who the team member was.

The NBA released a statement announcing the suspension of play for the season.

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the statement read.

Gobert’s actions on Monday, before he knew he had the virus, were slammed for the bad optics in hindsight as questions arose about how many other NBA players he may have come in contact with. The team has played against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics, the Detroit Pistons and the Toronto Raptors in the last two weeks.

Twitter users raked the 27-year-old over the coals.

 

But there were some on Twitter who suggested a different reaction and sent Gobert some support.

Frieda Powers

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