You may not know the name Rudy Gobert unless you’re an avid NBA fan, however, after mocking coronavirus this week, the Utah Jazz player has become famous — and probably not in the way he’d hoped.
During a news press conference on Monday, Gobert joked with members of the media by touching all of the microphones and recording devices that were placed on the table in front of him (see footage below).
And while at the time it was met with some laughter, the joke has now turned quite serious, with Gobert being the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19.
In a statement posted to Instagram on Thursday, the player apologised for his “careless” behaviour.
“I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously,” the basketballer said.
“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 apologise 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.”
WATCH: Rudy Gobert mocking the Coronavirus. Story continues…
Gobert’s diagnosis is certainly a lesson for all of us.
In fact, while it can be OK to make light about the current state of the world (as humour can be used as an effective coping mechanism), it is also very important to to be smart and not put others at risk.
Of course, Gobert had no idea that he even was a carrier, however, the simple action has now endangered all the journalists and crew whose possessions he touched.
According to psychologists at Stanford University, finding jokes help us cope with “horrifying images”.
Two studies from the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory demonstrated that “in the face of stressful imagery, comedy is a more effective coping strategy than solemnity – and positive, optimistic humour is more effective than cynicism.”
And there is another way it has been used effectively.
The internet is currently awash (no pun intended) with memes about hand cleanliness, after it was recommended that people wash their hands for 20 seconds to protect themselves or for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
One teen, William Gibson, 17, from the UK said he wanted the public to have a wider choice and created the not-for-profit Wash Your Lyrics site, which allows users to enter the title of their chosen song and artist to automatically generate a poster matching the lyrics to the 13-step washing routine. Helpful, clever and fun!
On Thursday, the NBA suspended the entire season indefinitely over the coronavirus pandemic.
And now, doctors in Australia are also urging the government to put a stop to public gatherings, like sporting events because the risk of spread is so high. The purpose of minimising the risk of spread is to ensure our hospitals aren’t put under stress.