After Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz became the first coronavirus patient in the NBA, everything went south. All the remaining games were canceled, and players requested to self-quarantine for 14 days. Fans might not enjoy the same courtside game experience, but there’s still plenty of action off the court.
Most of the action surrounds the Jazz and their two stars. Soon after, Donovan Mitchell also tested positive for COVID-19, and suddenly, the cracks that had been forming in the Jazz organization started to show.
Donovan Mitchell was angry at Rudy Gobert for infecting him with the virus
Two days before Gobert tested positive, he was playfully touching reporters’ microphones at the media briefing. Some reports indicate he hugged and touched other Jazz players’ belongings post-interview. This was after the management’s spirited efforts to educate and prepare the team on how to manage the pandemic.
When Mitchell tested positive for coronavirus a few days later, all the blame laid squarely on Gobert’s shoulders. This was when the situation started getting dicey, as evidenced by Mitchell’s statement on Instagram, which was clearly aimed at Gobert.
Other Jazz players were also reportedly frustrated with Gobert’s actions. Understandably Mitchell was at the top of the list. The Athletic reported that the two did not speak for a while and the relationship was strained.
Gobert apologized for his actions, but Mitchell was still reluctant
Gobert, understanding the gravity of the situation, made a public apology for his reckless behavior. He also said he talked to Donovan Mitchell and are trying to work on things together with the Jazz organization.
However, the Athletic said that Mitchell was reluctant to patch things up but was willing to work together with Gobert to try to win a championship. The Jazz organization (and some Jazz players) continues to reiterate that they are working on getting their two stars on the same page.
With Gobert gunning for a Supermax contract and Mitchell wanting to make the Jazz his team, the friction was likely there long before the positive tests. The trend of events brought by the viruses on widened the rift.
Fans think Donovan Mitchell is taking it a little too far
Initially, some Reddit fans were furious about Gobert’s behavior. But over time, the discontent from fans seems to slowly focus on Mitchell, who they believe is putting his emotions first instead of those of the team.
Both the organization and Gobert want a resolution, but Mitchell is adamant that Gobert’s actions caused him to contract the virus and is reluctant to patch things up.
Some Rudy Gobert loyalists had a bone to pick with Mitchell right from his statement, noting that the statement was “ignorant” and “immature.”
Before the cancellation of the season, the Jazz were having an excellent season with a chip firmly in their eyes. Fans could be getting jittery because the unsalvageable relationship between Mitchell and Gobert could compromise the chances of the team getting a much-needed championship in case the NBA season resumes.