If you’ve ever worked with Rudy Gobert, you know what a genuine, good person he is.
Last Christmas, Rudy Gobert donated to my work charity, Warm the Soles, by donating his own clothes to one of the underprivileged kids we’ve helped out. A 16-year-old boy who stands about 6’9” with a single working mom, and a special needs brother. Because he couldn’t find, let alone afford, new size 20 shoes. Gobert donated 6 pairs of his own. Not just the Nike ones he likely gets with his affiliation but casual shoes, all kinds. He also sent him bins of clothes so that he has things that actually fit his large frame.
And that’s just what I know about personally. Gobert does those things without any sort of public acknowledgement. He told us he did it because it makes him happy to help out.
Publicly we’ve seen Gobert do lots of other charity work like his Rudy’s Kids charity that donates money to underprivileged kids across the country.
It’s weird that this has to be said but Rudy Gobert but he is a really good person. Although because of the Jazz’s social media this week you’d think the opposite.
When Gobert’s positive test for coronavirus was made public and the NBA immediately suspended its season, it created a whirlwind across the entire internet. And when the video of Gobert touching microphones went viral it turned it into a firestorm.
Now, we’ve all seen the video and it was a really dumb thing to do.
Video shows Rudy Gobert, an NBA player who reportedly tested positive for coronavirus, touching microphones with his hands after speaking with reporters on Monday https://t.co/ekxauQo8KV pic.twitter.com/pd7Q9vJkCz— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 12, 2020
It’s especially unfortunate because it gave everyone something to point to, someone to blame.
And then we had Adrian Wojnarowski tweet to his over 4-million followers the news that Donovan Mitchell had also tested positive for coronavirus. But he didn’t just break the news he made a point to put a giant target on Gobert’s back.
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell ESPN. Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
And boy did everyone point a finger. Every blog out there decided it was Rudy Gobert who started this whole mess, acting like he was patient zero.
The hysteria after that was like nothing I’ve ever seen.
The vitriol was at such a boiling point that actual national NBA writers were mirroring internet trolls with the idea of some sort of fine or ban.
The NBA will not be fine or suspend Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert for his actions leading up to testing positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 13, 2020
Every NBA blog and twitter account out there was out for blood.
So what did the Jazz do to publicly stand up for their star center?
They tweeted a statement saying they were following protocol.
And they posted what they were doing to look out for the safety of fans and the team as well as general status updates.
“The safety of our fans and team are of paramount importance. We have been in constant contact with the NBA, including Commissioner Adam Silver, and other league officials, as well as state medical experts in Utah and Oklahoma."— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 12, 2020
Obviously the safety of everyone is most important, and the Jazz did do a good job of acting quickly once there were symptoms and then a positive test. Team personnel did an excellent job.
But we’re not talking about the actions of the front office and team personnel.
Jazz social media not once posted anything in support of their star player. For two days there was complete silence while Wojnarowski went on ESPN doubling down on his story about a rift between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert giving more fuel to aggregate bloggers out there to take even more shots at Gobert.
After almost two days of online attacks a few Jazz players made some very similar looking posts.
Thank you for all the love and prayers sent my way! I have been tested and i am good, wild 24 hrs glad i am healthy! Keeping my teammates @spidadmitchell & @rudygobert27 in my heart as they get better going through this process! Love ✌— Jordan Clarkson (@JordanClarksons) March 12, 2020
After a crazy 24 hours I am healthy, I am home safe, my tests came back negative! thank you all for the love and support! Let’s continue to make our environment safe with the knowledge that we have and keep supporting and sending love to our guys @spidadmitchell and @rudygobert27— Georges Niang (@GeorgesNiang20) March 12, 2020
Each one says thank you, each one says they’re okay and each one pledges support to Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
It almost seems like a request was made from PR to make those posts.
Obviously it’s hard to control something that Woj has created. It’s a tidal wave that can’t be stopped. But the strategy to say nothing and its come across in a terrible way. It looks like the Jazz don’t care about their best player.
There’s no way that we can get some sort of message from Coach Snyder? Something from the Millers? Can anyone come out and defend the guy who has worked so hard for Utah and the Jazz for the last 6 years?
Gobert deserved so much better than that.
The saddest thing of all were all the players not on the Jazz showing so much more support for Gobert than his own team.
Please stop with this narrative of Rudy trying to make it seem like he was patient zero.. for all we know that kid gave it to him https://t.co/vg0EldlAr8— Jordan Bell (@1jordanbell) March 14, 2020
Because of this deafening silence, all we can do is speculate what is going on. Maybe the Jazz are communicating this strategy with Gobert and he’s fine with it. Maybe the rift between Mitchell and Gobert is worse than we think and the Jazz are not wanting to get involved. Or worse, maybe they’ve already chosen a side. Whatever it is, Gobert is the one that gets the short end of the stick. He has the virus and he also gets all the blame while the Jazz come away without any of the backlash.
Today we found out that Rudy Gobert is donating 5x more than any player in the league with his $500,000 donation. So the Jazz also don’t even have to play their arena employees during the suspension of the league.
Rudy Gobert is donating more than $500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena and COVID-related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and within the French health care system.— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 14, 2020
The Jazz were quick to retweet that one! Perhaps the Jazz were avoiding some sort of fine because of a HIPPA violation. If they were so worried I’m sure Gobert would have been fine if they used part his donation to pay it since Gobert is already paying employees for them.
Eventually the season will come back, whether to finish this one or start a new one next year. Either way Rudy Gobert will be rejoining the Jazz with one year left on his contract. With what has happened this last week who knows what will happen.
One thing I do know is that there will be tweets from Jazz social media supporting Gobert. But we’ll all know they’re hollow because when Rudy Gobert was at his lowest point no one was there to stand up for him.