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Why Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert perhaps ‘did our country a huge favor,’ ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt explains

FILE: Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) makes his way off the court after beating the Detroit Pistons 100-94 at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Provo on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.
Silas Walker, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — When Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, it set in motion a chain reaction that’s being felt around the country.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt added some perspective to the situation, calling Gobert testing positive for COVID-19 — and the subsequent suspending of the NBA season, along with other sporting event cancelations and suspensions — a wake-up call for the nation, what he described as a “line in the sand moment.”

Along with Gobert, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell also tested positive for COVID-19.

“Hopefully they ride out the illness in a few days and then become the names and faces of people who have gotten it and illustrate that for the overwhelming majority of those who will contract the coronavirus, it is not some sort of a death sentence,” Van Pelt said during his SportsCenter “1 Big Thing” segment Thursday night.

Van Pelt then shared his thoughts about it being everyone’s duty as humans to look out for the vulnerable and do what we can to help them, while also acknowledging the sadness fans will feel as these sporting events, like the NCAA Tournament, will be missed over the coming weeks.

“It is entirely surreal. That word keeps getting used, but it is real and it’s confusing as hell, because I don’t know what we can do or where we can go or who is going to tell us that the coast is clear,” Van Pelt said. “And maybe we’re going to look back at some point and feel like this all of this was a bit of an overreaction. I know a lot of people feel it, maybe it’s a huge overreaction. Or maybe the diagnosis of a big man from France did our country a huge favor.

“This much I know to be true — he hit the warp speed button on all of this, and by taking away the games that are our society’s greatest gathering place and common ground, it forced everybody to take all of this a whole lot more serious.”