Coronavirus: Danny Green defends Rudy Gobert, says he shouldn’t be made scapegoat for NBA suspending season

The NBA is shut down in wake of the growing outbreak of the coronavirus, and although commissioner Adam Silver has set at least a 30-day hiatus for the 2019-20 season, no one — including Silver — knows when it will be safe again to play games again. 

As the season was put on ice Wednesday, and with no basketball for the foreseeable future, a lot of blame has been directed at Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player to test positive for coronavirus. The Utah Jazz center was seen in a video touching microphones and audio recorders during his media session Monday, which was perceived as him not taking the threat of the virus seriously. 

It was later revealed that Jazz players said Gobert was acting “carelessly” in the locker room by touching teammates’ belongings and not practicing social distancing, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. All of this created a firestorm of criticism aimed at Gobert, which he’s since taken ownership for and apologized

Still, though, that hasn’t stopped the barrage of negative attention he’s received, which Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green says is unfair. During a FaceTime appearance on “Take It There” with Taylor Rooks, Green gave his thoughts on how Gobert is being made the scapegoat.

“I feel like people are blaming him for a lot of things when obviously he was a little careless at times, but who’s to say that’s necessarily the reason why that’s happened,” Green said. “He probably should’ve been more careful, but it’s not all his fault. You got to look at the positive of things. This was going to happen regardless of whether it was gonna happen to him or somebody else. Somebody in the NBA was gonna catch the virus and give us a wake-up call. I think it was needed, it was necessary for us to — not just for the basketball world, but for the rest of the world to take it seriously. Adam Silver made the correct call, so I’m glad that things happened the way they did. I don’t think he should be blamed or bashed as much as he is. It could happen to anybody.”

Green’s absolutely spot on in his assessment of this situation. Yes, Gobert acted carelessly, but up until the league announced its postponement, there were a lot of people in the United States who shared the same attitude as Gobert. By Silver making the call to postpone the season, which began a chain reaction of other sports leagues cancelling or postponing games, people began to take the threat of the virus more seriously.

Blaming Gobert for the shutdown isn’t accurate or fair, because it’s a measure that probably should’ve been taken a couple weeks ago. If Gobert didn’t test positive for coronavirus, the league could’ve gone in a different direction, and instead of postponing games altogether it could’ve just played in empty arenas, which also isn’t an ideal way to curb the spread of the virus. 

We were headed in this direction regardless if it was Gobert or someone else in the league contracting the virus. It just so happens that there was video evidence of him taking this situation a bit too lightly. 

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