Rudy Gobert Discusses Backlash After Positive Test

Rudy Gobert faced a lot of anger after his positive test for COVID-19 led to a league-wide shutdown, and some of it came from his own locker room. The Jazz center spoke about about the experience Friday during an 11-minute session with reporters, including Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

“I’m happy now. I’m in a good place, you know,” he said. “And I’m happy that I get the joy back from playing basketball with my team and the competitiveness is back. I’m ready to try to go out there and try to win the championship. That’s the goal. And to be honest, after everything we’ve been through as a team and as human beings, it would be a great comeback.”

Gobert was not only the NBA’s first player diagnosed with the coronavirus — he became an object lesson in the need to take the virus seriously. Two days before the positive test, he made light of an NBA directive about distancing by touching every reporter’s tape recorder that was on a table in front of him. There was an immediate public backlash for making light of the situation, which increased once he tested positive.

He took steps to atone for the mistake, donating $200K to a fund helping part-time workers at Jazz games and another $310K to families in Utah, Oklahoma City and his native France who were affected by the pandemic.

“I won’t be able to control everyone’s perception of me, but I can control my actions,” Gobert said. “I can control, you know, the things I do for the people around me, for the community, the things I do for my teammates on the court, off the court. All that stuff, I can control and that’s what really matters to me.”

Gobert addressed several other topics during the interview:

On the strained relationship with teammate Donovan Mitchell, who tested positive shortly after Gobert:

“As long as we respect one another and we both share the same goals and we both do what’s best for the team, that’s what matters. And, you know, I think over the last few years that’s what we’ve been doing and that’s what we plan on continuing doing.”

On the negative reaction he faced after the shutdown, both on social media and with some teammates:

“Obviously, when you have the whole world judging you and threatening you or sending you a lot of negative energy and stuff like that, it’s something that I would say is not easy as a human being. But at the same time, people just judge you on the perception they have and the perception they get. Sometimes it can be one picture, one video, one interview, one action.”

On his recovery from the virus, which still isn’t complete:

“Smelling, I took that for granted too. It’s back now, it’s back at 80%, I’m not worried.”

On the possibility of a super-max deal, which may happen this offseason:

“I don’t plan on leaving (Utah) right now.”

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15 thoughts on “Rudy Gobert Discusses Backlash After Positive Test

  1. hiflew

    I think he should embrace the nickname “Typhoid Rudy” for the rest of his career. Make it his own.

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        Of course he wasn’t the only thing responsible, but his well-documented blasé attitude right before the quarantine began was classic.

  2. ChapmansVacuum

    I love how he talks about how hard it is to have everyone judging him. Doesnt own up to blatantly flaunting the precautions then getting bitten by his own hubris. Not at all satisfied with his poor me routine because he was called out for the stupid things he did, that oh by the way shut down sports.

    Get some awareness Rudy you F’ed up and need to own it.

    • The Human Rain Delay

      Youtube EVERY late night talk show the week before Rudy did this

      It was unfortunate but the norm at the time

      • x%sure

        And now those comedians are bunkered down every night, talking in a lower voice.
        LAUGH sign. APPLAUSE sign.

  3. natsfan3437

    People jumping to conclusions again how do you know Donovan didn’t give it to Rudy?

    • hiflew

      Probably the logic that France was having a surge in cases at the time, the US barely had any, and Rudy had just visited with family from France.

      It doesn’t matter who gave it to whom, but the logic seems to dictate the answer to the question.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      It’s possible that Rudy got it from Mitchell and not the other way around like people assume. That would explain why no one else got infected, but it would also be hilarious if actually Rudy caught it by touching everyone else’s stuff like he did.


    The bigger concern is all these new players testing positive.. obviously not staying home or social distancing after months of being locked down.. how different would Gobert be viewed if it was Mitchell that got the positive test first.. they both had it but only Gobert is get ridiculed

    • x%sure

      Nothing would change. Gobert made a spectacle of it. Why do people keep thinking this? Does someone’s attitude mean nothing?

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