Suddenly, the team and all relevant personnel were faced with the inevitable questions of how closely they’d been in contact with their contagious teammate, and how likely they were to also contract the virus.
And one thing seemed clear to everyone: Gobert had done pretty much the opposite of being careful. Now everyone’s mad, and the question that raises is this…is it fair to point a finger, or is there a double standard at play here?
Gobert Has a Reputation
Before Gobert’s diagnosis, his fellow players recall him going out of his way to touch them and their belongings as news of the spreading virus took over, with an attitude that made light of the situation. Although it’s pretty clear that he meant no harm, his actions had immediate consequences – and as the person who the virus hit next, Mitchell’s first public comment since he was diagnosed revealed a hint of bitterness about that.
As commentator Scott Van Pelt said on ESPN, “It doesn’t seem that this is great between Gobert and Mitchell. I mean, is that an astute observation?”
Wojnarowski answered, “That is an astute observation, Scott. And the Jazz are fortunate that they don’t have to get back together and start playing games again right now. There is a lot of work to do to repair relationships – not just between Donovan Mitchell [and] Rudy Gobert, but others in the locker room. There’s a lot of frustration with Gobert.”
If this kind of joke had been out of character for Gobert, the tension might not be running as high right now. But according to inside sources, this attitude is a common occurrence that he’s proven doesn’t know any proper boundaries, even if it might not usually be a problem.
They Didn’t Seem to Mind Before…
Many people have been quick to point out that the team always accepted their fellow player Gobert before, despite his reckless antics. So it’s important to try to understand if it was reasonable to expect different behavior from him due to the circumstances, or if their frustration is a product of their own fears at work.
The answer could be either – or both. And that’s a lesson that goes beyond the Jazz team and the NBA right now. In fact, it’s one that we can all learn from.
These are challenging times, and it’s important for everyone to step up to the plate by putting the needs of those around them first, and implementing the practices suggested by people with the authority to advise us all.
But in order to do that successfully, we should recognize that it’s not always easy – and that understanding and encouragement will make it easier by uniting us all, rather than diving us over the question of who was right or wrong…a question which is just irrelevant to the outcome of a pandemic.
Today, both players are much healthier and on their way to recovery. Hopefully, the Utah Jazz team will work it all out in the end.
In the meantime, let their unfortunate experience be a lesson to us all.