James Harrison is a man of few words. In July, however, he chose to speak up about the releasing of Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul's medical report on social media. If you recall, Pierre-Paul injured his hand in a Fourth of July mishap this past summer. As rumors of the gruesome details emerged, ESPN's Adam Schefter received some reliable information about the incident, in the form of health records.
Schefter chose to publicize those records, which confirmed the gravity of the incident. Pierre-Paul's hand was severely mangled, his index finger amputated. In his suit, Pierre-Paul contends, "This action arises out of ESPN reporter Schefter's blatant disregard for the private and confidential nature of plaintiff's medical records, all so Schefter could show the world that he had supporting proof a surgical procedure."
According to legal experts, victory is a long shot for Pierre-Paul. After all, he is a public figure and his injury was highly relevant to his career with the NFL. Schefter's report was of interest to the public. Furthermore, though medical professionals are bound by privacy and confidentiality guidelines, Schefter is not. Attorney Darren Heitner asked, "If the facts were true, it's very likely that this information would have broken soon thereafter. So what reputational harm is attached to this action by Adam Schefter?"
.@AdamSchefter You're a real piece of sh*t for putting that picture up!— James Harrison (@jharrison9292) July 9, 2015
Other players spoke out as well, though none as concisely and to-the-point as Harrison:
Can't wait to see who gets fired for the HIPAA violation releasing JPP's records. Wow!! This is sad @espn— Lawrence Tynes (@lt4kicks) July 8, 2015
How does ESPN obtain and leak the pics of JPP medial charts? Is that even legal?— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) July 8, 2015
Couldn't ESPN be culpable for releasing JPP medical records. Hope ESPN in counsel signed off on this. This could get ugly.— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) July 8, 2015