ESPN reporter Adam Schefter, recently ranked one of the most-followed broadcast journalists on Twitter, is facing a sharp backlash after what appears to be an NFL player’s medical record showing up in a tweet under his account.
The apparent record was a document of the New York Giant’s Jason Pierre-Paul getting his finger amputated, reportedly due to a Fourth of July fireworks accident.
The tweet received a flood of negative responses, some of which came from people in and around professional sports.
NFL player James Harrison:
NFL player Chris Long:
NFL Draft Analyst Montel Hardy:
Prodessinal baseball player Drew Storen:
Also on Twitter, “#HIPAA,” which “protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information,” is trending.
But it’s an invasion of privacy issue, not an HIPAA one, says Sports Illustrated Legal Analyst Michael McCann.
McCann also addressed what would happen if the team for which Pierre-Paul plays leaked the info to Schefter.
Here is more of the reaction from the sports world.
[Update – 7/13/2015]
Schefter, on SI.com, explained to SI.com’s Richard Deitsch why he tweeted the picture and how he got it.
Here is his reasoning in what Deitsch said was an emailed interview between him and Schefter:
This was a public figure and franchise player involved in a widely speculated accident with potential criminal behavior in which there was a cone of secrecy that surrounded him for five days that not even his own team could crack. This wasn’t as if some player were admitted to the hospital with a secret illness or disease—we’ve seen those cases over the years, as recently as this past year even. This one was different and unique for a variety of reasons. The extent of his injuries were going to come to light, maybe that day or later that week, but soon. They’re horrific injuries, incredibly unfortunate for the player. But in a day and age in which pictures and videos tell stories and confirm facts, in which sources and their motives are routinely questioned, and in which reporters strive to be as accurate as possible, this was the ultimate supporting proof.
Asked how he got the picture:
All I will say is I never once requested a single image from anyone at any time; the images came to me.
Here is more of the interview with Schefter.