After finding the heat in the social media spotlight too much to bear, Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is trying to click his way back into the good graces of liberal fans.
The tale began with Elon Musk, who trolled the social media platform he owns Saturday with a tweet saying, “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” tweaking both devotees of White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and gender activists.
As is common with the billionaire’s flippant and occasionally obscure comments, Twitter went mad with “likes” for the post.
Gobert was among them — and some were not happy about it.
Rudy Gobert liked this tweet 😳 pic.twitter.com/qysJjANUya
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 12, 2022
— For The Win (@ForTheWin) December 13, 2022
Please go back to Utah. You agreeing with musk shows how much you don’t fit in Minnesota, where we believe in science not billionaires. Also ur the NBA’s patient zero 😅
— diana (@Dianavelasco_1) December 12, 2022
All that led to Gobert taking time after his team’s 133-112 home loss to the Portland Trailblazers on Monday, after he removed his “like” from Musk’s tweet, to apologize.
“Regardless of the different opinions that people have, my intent is never to direct any type of hate towards any group,” he told Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
“I’ve always moved with love, and people that know me know that I might be a bit goofy sometimes, and my intent always comes from a good place. Sorry if I hurt anyone,” he said.
Gobert, who has “liked” other Musk tweets and shown himself to be less than a fan of vaccine mandates, indicated he had not considered the full ramifications of “liking” that particular comment.
“My intent was never to hurt anyone. I think Elon tweets about stuff like that and sometimes you like a tweet, but you don’t understand the full meaning of it. … I just think I got to learn a little bit more about the pronoun thing,” he said.
Gobert said that walking a social media tightrope can be hard.
“You never want to cause hurt to people, you know? That’s it. That’s the bottom line. I don’t want to cause people to — I know once again it’s really hard in today’s society,” he said.
“I’m a tall kid from France. Skinny guy. I’m goofy. Can’t shoot, whatever. I get really awful things tweeted at me every day and that goes beyond basketball, and it’s really tough on social media sometimes to not get hurt or be offended. But yeah, my intent is never to hurt anybody,” the three-time NBA All-Star said.
Having tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020 and endured social media abuse, Gobert said his perspective is not the same as that of others.
“Sometimes when you go through something, some people like to joke about things that they’ve been through,” he said. “I’m not saying that excuses anything, but yeah, it’s tough. It’s a tricky situation. Everyone’s got different opinions.”
“I think we got to move with empathy, move with love and regardless of what each other thinks. Just keep supporting each other,” he said.
One click does mean antipathy to transgender people, Gobert said.
“I think anyone should be able to do whatever they want to do in life,” he said. “Love whoever they want to love, dress however they want to dress. I respect freedom of being who you want to be and that comes with the freedom also of people expressing what they want to express.”
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said criticism of him puts his safety at risk.
“That’s why I have armed federal agents with me all the time. That stirs up a lot of hate in people who have no idea why they’re hating — they’re hating because somebody like that is tweeting about it,” he said.
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