Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert is donating more than $500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena and COVID-related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and within the French health care system.
The pledged donation will provide $200,000 in aid to part-time employees at the Jazz's home arena who are not able to work due to the postponement of NBA games and other events in conjunction with employee assistance efforts by Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment.
Gobert will also contribute $100,000 each to assist families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah and Oklahoma City plus 100,000 euros for his native country of France.
“I am humbled by the tireless efforts and care of people around the globe for those affected by COVID-19, especially my own communities of Utah and France, in addition to my appreciation for the state of Oklahoma and my care there, and of course, my Utah Jazz family,” Gobert said.
“I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted. These donations are a small token that reflect my appreciation and support for all those impacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a positive difference, while continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and educate others. Much gratitude, RG.”
broke his silence Thursday evening and apologized for “careless” actions that could have exposed others to COVID-19.
In his first public comments since testing positive for the coronavirus Wednesday leading the NBA to suspend their season, Gobert issued the following statement on Instagram:
I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus. I am under great care and will fully recover. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love.
On Monday, video emerged of Gobert mocking the NBA's temporary rules requiring media members to stay at least six feet away from players by jokingly touching a cluster of reporter's microphones and recorders being used during an interview. Gobert, who was questionable heading into Wednesday's matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, tested positive for the pandemic roughly 48 hours later. The game was eventually postponed.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday that "Jazz players are privately saying that Gobert showed a cavalier attitude toward the virus in the locker room, touching teammates and their belongings."
Donovan Mitchell – Gobert's teammate – also tested positive for COVID-19 and said the following in an Instagram post Thursday:
We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them.
Click here for Mitchell's full statement.
Shortly after Gobert's positive test became apparent Wednesday evening, the NBA suspended its season indefinitely. Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement released Thursday he anticipates the league to halt play for at least 30 days.
Other leagues, including the NHL, MLB, PGA, NCAA, MLS, EPL and NLL took similar measures on Thursday.