With states slowly reopening and COVID-19 cases surging throughout the country as a result, the NFL is learning that it will be nearly impossible to protect its players and its bottom line from the ongoing pandemic. Texas, in particular, has reported a record-breaking number of hospitalizations in the past week, and among those are several players for the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network broke the news on Monday and dropped this complimentary bombshell:
“#Cowboys star RB Ezekiel Elliott is one of the players who has tested positive for the coronavirus, his agent Rocky Arceneaux confirmed to me,” Rapoport tweeted.
It’s unclear as to why Zeke’s agent didn’t just “no comment” his way out of answering, but the three-time Pro Bowler seemingly wondered the same thing in response to his privacy being breached.
“HIPAA??” he tweeted, referencing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Typically, HIPAA would protect Elliot’s private medical information from being shared without his consent, but that only applies to healthcare professionals. And as legal analyst Michael McCann notes, guess who aren’t healthcare professionals? Nosey ass sports reporters.
“Journalists reporting on NFL players who test positive for COVID-19 aren’t covered entities under HIPAA and so aren’t violating HIPAA,” McCann tweeted. “Often employers and representatives (outside of those in health care) aren’t covered entities, either. And HIPAA has no private right of action.”
Thankfully, the 24-year-old is “feeling good” according to his agent and is expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp in July. Denver Broncos star Von Miller and Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen are two other players who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus since March.
Once the season starts, NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer has confirmed that the league will test players for COVID-19 approximately three times a week. But despite whatever safety measures and protocols the league puts place, it’s only a matter of time before this upcoming season is disrupted by the coronavirus.