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Evan Fournier calls backlash against Rudy Gobert ‘disgusting’

Magic, Jazz, Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier

Orlando Magic shooting guard Evan Fournier stuck up for fellow countryman Rudy Gobert amid backlash he has received for his actions prior to testing positive for coronavirus.

Fournier said he does not understand the need for journalists and media outlets to release the names of the sick, and the Magic veteran vented frustrations as to how Gobert was made to be the “face of the virus” in the NBA (via Stefan Djordjevic of EuroHoops.net):

“It hurt me. It became the face of the virus in the NBA. The behavior 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. It was unbearable. You can say a guy is sick without naming him. Today, Philadelphia and the Lakers have cases, and we don’t know who it is. It’s more respectful,” he told L’Equipe.

The issue is perhaps a little more complex than Fournier seems to indicate.

As Fournier suggests, there is a certain sense of anonymity certain players might prefer with respect to testing and the release of test results. However, players like Kevin Durant and Marcus Smart have openly made their positive tests known in an effort to promote awareness and encourage common citizens to follow guidelines put in place by public health officials.

Criticisms of Gobert stemmed from a now-infamous clip of him touching microphones and recorders during a media session just days before testing positive. Of course, there was no way for Gobert to know he had contracted the virus, and he acknowledged just how reckless he was in his actions.

Other journalists have suggested players around the league showed the same lax attitude to some of the precautions taken by the NBA prior to the suspension of play, which sort of resonates with Fournier’s “It could have been me” statement as well.

In any case, this is an unprecedented time for the players and for sports media as a whole.