Rudy Gobert received plenty of criticism for his behavior leading up the coronavirus pandemic but the Jazz center says that the media's portrayal of him was unfair, as he feels he was made to be the scapegoat for the entire league shutting down.
"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 told the Washington Post. "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, of course, did not bring the coronavirus to America. He is referring to the backlash he received after his casual approach towards safety just as the coronavirus was beginning to ramp up in the United States. Most famously, Gobert touched several reporters' microphones as a joke shortly before becoming the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus. Shortly after, the NBA was shut down.
In the months following, Gobert has expressed remorse about his callous behavior and has made several donations to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Still, to many, Gobert represents exactly why America ended up in this situation, as far too many people failed to take coronavirus seriously until it was already a full-blown pandemic.
After more than four months, the NBA is set to return Thursday night, with Gobert's Jazz playing the New Orleans Pelicans in the first game of the resumed season in the Orlando bubble.