Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert released a statement on Thursday, less than 24 hours after reports surfaced that he’d tested positive for COVID-19, apologizing for his careless actions and saying he hopes others can learn from him.
“I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis… mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment,” he wrote. “The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus.”
“I am under great care and will fully recover,” Gobert wrote. “Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love.”
Gobert’s diagnosis set off a domino effect throughout the NBA. The league announced shortly afterwards that the 2019-20 season will be suspended until further notice, with other teams being advised to quarantine their players. Other leagues have since also suspended operations.
He was also widely criticized online for his actions earlier in the week, making light of coronavirus concerns by purposely touching every microphone while leaving a press podium.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Gobert’s teammates in Utah said he “had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings.” It was later revealed that Gobert’s teammate, Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive for the virus.