It would behoove Adam Schefter, an incorrigible access merchant, to avoid meddling in healthcare-related issues. If you recall, it was Schefter who tweeted a photograph of Jason Pierre-Paul’s private medical records to his millions of Twitter followers after Pierre-Paul vaporized his hand while playing with fireworks back in 2015. Pierre-Paul responded to this indefensible breach of privacy by filing a lawsuit against ESPN, Schefter’s employer, and both sides ultimately settled out of court last year.
Sunday afternoon, Schefter reported that Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has made “incredible progress” in the months following a life-altering spinal injury, even going as far as stating that Shazier is “moving his legs” and is “engaging in a regular walking routine.” Schefter, of course, attributed this ostensible glimmer of good news to mysterious and unnamed “sources,” including one who is “familiar with Shazier’s recovery.”
That report was later discredited by a pair of reputable parties, including Michelle Tafoya and, the most trustworthy party of all, Ryan Shazier:
Needless to say, you’ll understand if I have some issues with Schefter having reported seemingly incorrect information related to what is perhaps the most high-profile injury case the NFL has witnessed in its history.
First and most importantly, any details concerning Shazier’s path to recovery are Shazier’s to disclose. No other party—not the NFL, not the fans, not the Steelers, and certainly not the media—is entitled to such information. Furthermore, in the era of alternate facts and FAKE NEWS, Schefter owes it to his profession to get this kind of stuff right. And to expand slightly on that point, while I understand that media types are not expressly required to burn confidential sources, forgoing reputable sources (like, say, the man himself—Shazier did, after all, go out of his way to confirm Tafoya’s report) in favor of off-the-record ones is a good way to subvert your own credibility.
My advice: track Ryan Shazier’s progress by paying close attention to updates from Ryan Shazier, and ignore Adam Schefter’s medical reporting.