Gobert pledges more than $500,000 to arena workers, health services
Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert, who apologized for his careless actions before he was diagnosed with novel coronavirus, has pledged to donate more than half a million dollars to health services and arena workers affected by the pandemic.
More than half the money will go towards COVID-19 related social service programs in Utah, Oklahoma City and the French health care system, the NBA’s Jazz said in a statement on Saturday.
“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,” Gobert said in prepared remarks released by the Jazz.
Gobert will donate $200,000 in aid to part-time employees at the Jazz’s arena who are unable to work as the NBA is shut down in a bid to combat the spread of the virus.
Another $200,000 will assist families affected by the outbreak in Utah and Oklahoma City. He also promised 100,000 euros ($111,400) for health care in his native France.
Gobert, who is from Saint-Quentin, tried to make fun of the NBA’s policy to keep media members at a safe distance from players in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, touching all the microphones put before him on a table at a press conference last week.
It was just days later, on Wednesday, that his diagnosis with COVID-19 prompted the NBA to suspend its season indefinintely.
Gobert was reportedly similarly nonchalant about coronavirus risks in the locker room, touching other players and their belongings.
Gobert issued a public apology after Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell confirmed Thursday that he tested positive for coronavirus.
“I was careless and make no excuse,” he said. “I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously.”
The NBA said Friday that the 27-year-old defensive standout, fondly nicknamed “The Stifle Tower,” would not be fined or suspended for his microphone-touching stunt.