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Evan Fournier: Behavior toward Rudy Gobert has been disgusting

Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier

DONGGUAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 11: Evan Fournier #10 and Rudy Gobert #27 of France react to a play during the game against USA during the 2019 FIBA World Cup Quarter-Finals on September 11, 2019 at the Dongguan Basketball Center in Dongguan, China. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Jazz center Rudy Gobert was thankfully cleared of coronavirus.

But not before being mistreated, according to his friend and French national team teammate, Magic guard Evan Fournier.

Fournier, via L’Equipe, as translated by Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando:

“It hurts me, he became the face of the virus in the NBA. The behaviour of people and journalists has been disgusting, I don’t understand taking out the names of the sick: it looks like the transfer window when it’s the scoop race. It was a coronavirus free agency, unbearable. You can say a guy is sick without naming him: today Philadelphia and the Lakers have cases and we don’t know who they are”, Fournier said.

I empathize with Fournier’s concern about privacy. But the defense of NBA players getting tested amid a nationwide shortage of coronavirus tests included: Players frequently interact closely with the public. Meeting an NBA player is highly memorable for most people and often forgettable for the player. Revealing the names of those who test positive was the only proper way to warn people who came into close contact with those players. It’s not as if players know how to discreetly tell each fan whom they met during the previous two weeks.

Hopefully, Gobert’s positive test became public on his own terms. He still had a right to medical privacy. But his name emerging did serve the greater good – not just in terms of taking coronavirus more seriously generally, but specifically alerting people who came near him to take precautions.

That’s why I don’t understand half measures like announcing that a member of an organization has coronavirus without naming the person. What does that accomplish?

As far as Fournier’s disgusting-behavior charge… Gobert was the face of coronavirus in the NBA even before testing positive. He earned that title through his reckless actions. To his credit, Gobert apologized then backed that with a signification donation.

It is unfair Gobert received heightened criticism because he got coronavirus. If he never tested positive, he likely would have received far less scrutiny. His actions were reckless, regardless, though. It’s OK to point that out.