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Sunday, 15 March 2020

NBA Player Who Pulled Coronavirus Stunt Donates $500,000 To Relief Effort

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has decided to donate a combined $500,000 – divided between arena employees who have been adversely affected by the NBA’s decision to suspend the season, and coronavirus relief efforts in Utah, Oklahoma City, and his home country of France.
“I know that there are countless ways that people have been impacted. 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,” said Gobert, according to Athletic reporter Shams Charania. 
After Gobert tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week, the NBA released a statement suspending the season “until further notice.”
“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19,” said a statement form the NBA communications team last Wednesday. “The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of Wednesday’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, Wednesday’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.”
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of Wednesday’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” concluded the statement. 
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Gobert’s diagnosis brought new attention to a stunt he pulled on Monday, during which he purposely touched reporters’ microphones and recorders to downplay the threat of coronavirus. 
Gobert pulled the stunt in response to the NBA announcing that the media would have limited access to players to prevent the spread of coronavirus, reports CBS Sports
Several days after the incident, Gobert publicly apologized in an Instagram post and said he was embarrassed by his actions. 
“I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis … mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment,” said Gobert. “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. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy,” said Gobert. 
The NBA player’s philanthropic initiative comes as other high-profile names in the basketball community have stepped up to help employees affected by the season’s suspension. 
According to CNN, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been developing a program to pay hourly employees at the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks. 
Buzzfeed News reported Friday that 19-year-old Zion Williamson would pay the salary of hourly workers at the Smoothie King Center, home of the New Orleans Pelicans, for the next thirty days. 

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