Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been lauded for his defensive prowess throughout his career. Today, though, Gobert is in the spotlight for the opposite reason, as many are scrutinizing his actions as extremely offensive and brash.
Jazz reporter Sarah Todd of The Deseret News does not agree with this social media outlash against Gobert, despite the fact that she had to get tested for COVID-19 directly after all of the drama unfolded.
“I have no ill will toward Rudy Gobert,” Todd told Steve Ceruti and Brian Scalabrine on Thursday morning’s Scal and Pals. “The guy tested positive for coronavirus... I’m not mad at him.
“Rudy Gobert is not a malicious person.”
Her rationale is that CDC and public health department officials who came to Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City informed everyone in the Jazz organization, including players, faculty and media, that the disease is primarily transmitted through “respiratory droplets” and that the risk for the disease’s spread is much lower if there is no interpersonal contact.
By speaking into the microphone at the presser, Todd argued that Gobert would have spread the virus just as easily, anyway, and expressed her surprise that it took a player getting the virus before the league got shut down.
Donovan Mitchell was the only other player on the Jazz that tested positive for COVID-19, though the incubation period can take longer for results to properly show up. For Todd, the results that came right after her "Scal and Pals" interview showed good news.
Speaking on what it was like to go through all of the drama as it unfolded, Todd said it barely hit her that the league had been suspended due to the rush of everything in the moment.
“I’m tired, it’s been a sleepless night,” Todd said. “Everything that went on last night was so surreal. Being in the dark for about three hours about what was going to happen… we’re around these guys every day talking to them in close proximity.”
Todd shared that they weren’t allowed to walk down certain hallways that they’re used to, and it felt strange having law enforcement and state public health department officials walk through the arena, the floor being completely empty.
“Strange situation… I’ve never seen anything like it,” Todd said.
Everyone associated with the Utah Jazz will be heading back to Utah on Thursday, according to Todd.
What happens with the league going forward is still very much up in the air. There is mounting pessimism that the season will resume at all, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. The NCAA, NFL and NHL are among the other leagues that are taking drastic precautions in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Watch the full interview with Sarah Todd below.