ESPN reporter explains why he posted NFL player's medical records

After the Fourth of July weekend, an ESPN reporter shared a photo of what appeared to be NFL player Jason Pierre-Paul's medical record, a move which ignited a frenzy over whether the reporter had violated HIPAA.

Adam Schefter posted the photo and broke the news of Mr. Pierre-Paul's amputation. Mr. Pierre-Paul is a defensive-end for the New York Giants.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Mr. Schefter offered an explanation, saying the circumstances for the report were nontraditional.

"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," Mr. Schefter told Sports Illustrated. "This wasn't as if some player were admitted to the hospital with a secret illness or disease…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."

Mr. Schefter also said the photo provided the "ultimate supporting proof" for the story and adds that he never requested any images; the images were sent to him.

While media do not fall under the purview of HIPAA laws (they are neither a healthcare organization nor a related business entity), Mr. Schefter said he should have been more sensitive to the situation.

"We've got a great group of editors and production staff, and I could have leaned on them even more," he said. "On this one, there should have been even more discussion than there was due to the sensitivity of the story; that's on me."

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