As you probably know by now, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted out a photo of New York Giants’ defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul medical records, indicating he’s had his right index finger amputated.
This predictably created a controversy in the ethics of journalism. Does ESPN have the legal right to post such an image? A moral one?
Legally, they’re likely in the clear, as this NJ.com article points out, with supporting tweets from sports lawyer Michael McCann. Assuming a separate third party gave them that information, and it didn’t come from ESPN themselves, Schefter and the network are safe. The source of the leak, however, is in violation of HIPAA law.
The moral authority to disseminate such an image is a murkier discussion. Many have taken offense to it, including the Pittsburgh Steelers own James Harrison, who tweeted as much to Schefter.
.@AdamSchefter You're a real piece of sh*t for putting that picture up!
— James Harrison (@jharrison9292) July 9, 2015
As you’d expect from him, a very matter-of-fact statement. I’ll leave the debate for the comments but there’s clearly a compelling case to be had against ESPN posting the photo.