NBA: Affected player Gobert pledges $500,000 to virus relief effort


(Reuters) – Frenchman Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player known to have tested positive for the coronavirus, is donating more than $500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at the Utah Jazz’s home arena and COVID-19-related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and the French health care system, the NBA team said 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 a statement released by the Jazz.

The pledged donation will provide $200,000 in aid to part-time employees at the Jazz home arena who are not able to work due to the postponement of NBA games and other entertainment events, in conjunction with employee assistance efforts already being undertaken by team owners, the Jazz said.

Additionally, Gobert will contribute $100,000 each to assist families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah and Oklahoma City plus 100,000 euros for his native France.

The NBA suspended its season indefinitely on Wednesday after it was confirmed Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19.

The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of Wednesday’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City and the game was canceled.

Gobert was not in the arena.

“I was careless and make no excuse,” he said in an apology. “I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously.”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Daniel Wallis