What was the Accusation?
After a post-practice interview session with the media, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert made light of the 2020 COVID-19 virus threat by touching every microphone in front of him as he left the room. He seemingly wanted to send a message that he did not feel threatened by the virus and made light of the hysteria surrounding the epidemic.
Unfortunately, Gobert would soon after exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus, likely a result of his careless behavior. The Utah Jazz released the following statement: “This morning a player on the Utah Jazz tested negative for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection. The individual’s symptoms diminished over the course of today, however, in a precautionary measure, and in consultation and cooperation with NBA medical staff and Oklahoma health officials, the decision was made to test for COVID-19. A preliminary positive result came back right before tip-off of the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City game. Subsequently, the decision was correctly made by the NBA to postpone the game. When it was determined that the individual would be tested, we immediately informed the league office. The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation are paramount in our discussions. We are working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials and the NBA to determine how to best move forward as we gather more information. The individual is currently in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City. In coordination with the NBA and state officials, we will provide updates at the appropriate time.”
After a game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was canceled following news of Gobert’s positive test, players from both teams were quarantined in their locker rooms and forced to remain there for an extended period of time. The cancellation of the game was the impetus for the eventual suspension of the entire NBA season and soon after, every professional sports league in the U.S. followed suit in suspending their seasons as well. Gobert recognized that his behavior was careless and dangerous and he expressed remorse. He conveyed the hope that his story would serve as a cautionary tale for others. Most were receptive to Gobert’s apology, but his behavior created a rift between himself and teammate Donovan Mitchell who also became infected due to extended contact with Gobert. An anonymous source within the Jazz organization told members of the media that the relationship between the two players was “unsalvageable,” although Gobert claimed the two had resolved the conflict.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Bolstering, Defeasibility, Mortification, Corrective Action
“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. “