NBA will not fine Rudy Gobert for his actions prior to positive COVID-19 test

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Rudy Gobert was careless, and even reckless, jokingly not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously on a personal level before testing positive and becoming the NBA’s patient zero. He owned that mistake in his statement on Instagram and apologized for it.

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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. 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. Love.

A post shared by Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) on

Carlessness, however, is not something the league should punish people for — and it will not in this case. The NBA will not fine or suspend Gobert for his actions, something first reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

It was the positive test for Gobert that changed the NBA’s course of action on this disease — and with it, changed the direction of other sports leagues and the perception of how this should be handled.  Here was an elite athlete — the NBA’s two-time Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Star — testing positive in the middle of a season, and if he could come down with the disease it seemed to hit home for a lot of people that anyone can get it.

The NBA’s actions were on the front end of a wave of moves around the nation to postpone public gatherings from concerts and political rallies down to middle school soccer games.

Gobert was wrong and careless, but that’s different from a punishable offense, and in the end his actions may have helped the shift in this nation to take the pandemic more seriously.