The National Basketball Association has announced that it will suspend 2020 season due to Coronavirus outbreak. In a statement published on Wednesday, March 11, the association revealed that the decision was made after a player on the Utah Jazz had preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19.
“The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena,” the statement continued. The game that night was canceled and “the affected player was not in the arena.”
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” added the statement. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
While NBA didn’t disclose the identity of the affected player, ESPN’s senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that it’s Jazz star Rudy Gobert. Adrian added that players from the Jazz and Thunder have been placed under quarantine.
“I’ve been told that Rudy Gobert was never at the arena tonight, but he was in OKC. If he had been cleared of the virus, he was set to play,” he continued. Further raising concerns was a video, which has since gone viral, of the 27-year-old athlete purposely touching all of the reporters’ microphones prior to the Jazz’s game against the Toronto Raptors on March 9.
Meanwhile, the Jazz revealed in a statement that one of their players “tested negative this morning for influenza, strep throat, and an upper respiratory infection.” They said that “his symptoms diminished throughout the day, but in cooperation with the NBA medical staff and Oklahoma health officials, the decision was made to test for COVID-19.”
It was later revealed that a premilinary test said it was tested positive, leading the league to postpone the game. Through an announcement via the PA system, they quickly asked the spectators to leave “due to unforeseen circumstances,” though they assured them by saying, “you are all safe.”
Fans applauded NBA for the decision as one wrote on Instagram, “The Best Move They Could’ve Made! Cuz All The Games With No Fans They Lost Me! ” However, some others appeared to make light of the issue, joking, “NBA = No Basketball Anymore.”