A Detroit-based freelance camera operator who worked for Fox Sports Detroit and shot the Pistons-Jazz game on March 11 is in a coma due to complications from COVID-19, the disease brought on by the novel coronavirus.
Jazz player Rudy Gobert was the first NBA player diagnosed with COVID-19 and Pistons’ big man Christian Wood, who guarded Gobert, also was stricken. Wood, according to his agent has made a full recovery.
The name of the cameraman has not been released, but Vincent Goodwill and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports report he is in his 50s and spent time in the Jazz locker room during the game.
Mike Abdella, a freelancer with Fox Sports who worked closely with the man set up a GoFundMe page, with the page hitting its $10,000 goal within hours. The page has as of this writing raised $11,215 thanks to 185 donors:
Without giving my good friends name away, I am setting up a relief fund to help him with any lingering bills that will come from this possible deadly virus, in this unprecedented time. Thank you. (Any extra money raised from these donations, besides keeping our friend comfortable and healthy, will be given to surrounding Food Banks and to FlintKids.org) Please read and consider donating...
Earlier in the week, Fox Sports’ new parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, came under fire for cutting ties with all its freelancers while some of its competitor sports networks were keeping them on and sending paychecks.
After significant blowback, Sinclair made the extremely minor gesture of giving its freelancers a $2,500 no-interest loan to be paid back when games resume as long as the freelancer worked 60% of the games in the local market.
There is no telling if the man now in a coma seemingly due to his job is eligible for the loan.