Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert donates $500K for COVID-19 relief

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Photo: Utah Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 14, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert is donating a half million dollars to arena workers losing work due to the suspension of the NBA season and to others impacted by COVID-19 in America and in his native France.

Gobert was diagnosed with coronavirus on Wednesday, just prior to the scheduled start of a Jazz versus Thunder game in Oklahoma. The game was cancelled, then the NBA postponed the season. Gobert’s teammate, Donovan Mitchell, was diagnosed shortly afterward.

The Jazz announced Gobert’s donation on Saturday in a news release.

“The Utah Jazz announced today that Rudy Gobert is donating more than $500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at Vivint Smart Home Arena and COVID-related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and within the French health care system,” a statement on the team’s website says.

“The pledged donation will provide $200,000 in aid to part-time employees at the home arena of the Utah Jazz who are not able to work due to the postponement of NBA games and other entertainment events, in conjunction with employee assistance efforts already being undertaken by Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment.

“Additionally, Gobert will contribute $100,000 each to assist families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah and Oklahoma City plus 100,000 euros for his native country of France.”

Emerging areas of pressing need include childcare assistance to health care workers as well as for caregivers to the elderly, the statement says.

Gobert was quoted in the prepared statement.

“I am humbled by the tireless efforts and care of people around the globe for those affected by COVID-19, especially my own communities of Utah and France, in addition to my appreciation for the state of Oklahoma and my care there, and of course, my Utah Jazz family,” he said.

“I know there are countless ways that people have been impacted. These donations are a small token that reflect my appreciation and support for all those impacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a positive difference, while continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and educate others. Much gratitude, RG.”

More than 800 part-time employees work events at Vivint Smart Home Arena in areas including food service, security, guest services and custodial, the statement says. Four upcoming concerts have been postponed through the end of April, and the Jazz had 10 remaining home games on its schedule before the suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gobert issued an apology Thursday on his Twitter page:

“I would like to publicly apologize to the people I may have endangered,” he wrote, in part. “At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as (a) way to educate others and prevent the spread of the virus.”


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