March 12, 2020
Rudy Gobert Apologizes For Joking About Coronavirus, His Role In NBA Suspending Season

Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz player who famously joked about coronavirus by touching microphones at a press conference and then came down with the virus, has apologized, The Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, the NBA season has been suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.

On Monday, back when the NBA was still carrying on with business as usual, coronavirus fears aside, Gobert playfully "joked" about the virus during a press conference by playfully touching all of the microphones and recording devices that reporters had placed in front of him.

Two days later, he was diagnosed with COVID-19, the viral disease that coronavirus causes.

What followed was a scene that has been described as surreal. On Wednesday night, as tipoff was approaching for the Jazz-Thunder game at Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena, it was announced that Gobert, who was not in the building at the time, had tested positive for the illness, prompting a last-minute decision to postpone the game. Fans were ordered out of the building.

"You're all safe... We're all safe … Please drive home safely. Goodnight fans," the public address announcer said over the loudspeakers, as fans booed, according to a companion Washington Post report.

Later on Wednesday, the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season until further notice.

On Thursday, Gobert took to Instagram to apologize for his role in the developments.

"I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours," he says in the opening sentence of the caption to his Instagram post, before telling his fans that he's experienced a mix of emotions over the past couple of days, including embarrassment.

He then goes on to say that, on Monday night, when he playfully touched the microphones, he had no idea he was infected with the disease that he was joking about, and that the coronavirus is no laughing matter.

"I was careless and make no excuse," he says.

Gobert apologized, promised to do what he could to make sure that his situation will help slow the spread of the virus, and then told his fans that he's getting excellent medical care in the mean time.

In the comments, Gobert is getting a mixed reaction.

Several fans responded with prayer emojis, with promises to pray for him, and with well-wishes. Others, however, were less forgiving.

"Imagine... getting the whole league canceled cuz you think a disease is a joke. SIMP OF THE YEAR," one fan wrote.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, in other basketball news, the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments have been canceled over coronavirus fears.