UTAH — Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has pledged to donate a total of $500,000 for arena employees in Utah and Oklahoma City, as well as overall COVID-19 relief in his home country of France, the team announced Saturday through newswire Reuters.
Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, prompting the league to suspend its regular season indefinitely. He has since apologized for acting carelessly before learning of the diagnosis.
Third COVID-19 case
Meanwhile, Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood also tested positive for coronavirus, the third known NBA player to test positive for the virus after Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz.
“I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted,” the 27-year-old Gobert said, per the Jazz’s official announcement. “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.”
Per the Jazz’s announcement, Gobert’s donation will provide $200,000 in aid to part-time employees at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City who are not able to work due to the postponement of NBA games. He will also pledge $100,000 to assist families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah and Oklahoma City plus 100,000 euros for his native France.
Gobert on Monday joked about the NBA’s policy to keep media members at a safe distance from players in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. He touched all the microphones and other recording equipment at the press table after concluding interviews with the media in a room at the Jazz’s press facility.
After Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell confirmed Thursday over social media that the center tested positive for coronavirus, Gobert issued an apology 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,” Gobert wrote.
“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,” he said.
“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.” (ia/sovereignph.com/Source: Reuters)