ESPN, Reporter Sued for Posting NFL Player's Medical Record

Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants injured his hand in a fireworks accident July 4, 2015, and ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted a photo of his injured hand on July 8.

ESPN and its NFL reporter Adam Schefter were sued Wednesday in Florida for tweeting medical records of injured Giants star Jason Pierre-Paul this summer.

According to ESPN.com, the suit was filed in Miami-Dade County and alleges that Schefter and the sports network violated Pierre-Paul’s privacy when Schefter improperly obtained the player’s medical records from a hospital, then tweeted them out. Schefter is one of ESPN’s senior reporters and currently has 4.59 million Twitter followers.

The suit states that “ESPN obtained medical charts that show Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul had right index finger amputated today,” according to ESPN’s account.

Pierre-Paul alleges that Schefter and ESPN violated a Florida statute that prohibits third parties who obtain medical records from further disclosing them without written consent of the patient or a legal representative. The report does not specify what monetary figure Pierre-Paul seeks, beyond stating that the action is for “damages in excess of $15,000.”

Two employees of Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami were fired over the incident, and Pierre-Paul has settled with the hospital, according to ESPN's report.

Pierre-Paul injured his hand in a fireworks accident on July 4, 2015. Schefter tweeted out the photo on July 8. The Twitter incident created controversy for weeks, because Pierre-Paul had been designated by Giants earlier that year as worthy of its “franchise tag,” a status that protected the team from losing him to free agency if certain conditions were met.

However, Pierre-Paul refused to sign the tag and then injured his hand, causing him to lose the money that would have been associated with the designation. He also refused to see Giants’ medical personnel for weeks after the accident, so the only information that was known about the injury had come from Twitter.

It was later learned Pierre-Paul had also lost part of his thumb. He played with a protective cover over the injured hand in 8 games and had surgery after the end of the season.

According to its own story, ESPN officials had no comment.