On Monday morning, NFL’s Ian Rapoport revealed that several Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texas players had tested positive for Covid-19. At that point, none of the players had made their way to the team facilities yet. Soon after, Rapoport announced that Ezekiel Elliott had been one of the players in question with no others revealed at the time.
This marks the second time Elliott has been mentioned during the coronavirus pandemic. Back in April, Elliott was seen at a dinner party with Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott as soon as the stay-at-home orders around the United States began. Prescott later released a statement apologizing for not following social distancing guidelines.
But now that Elliott is confirmed to have tested positive, he has one question: does this report violate HIPAA?
HIPAA ??— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) June 15, 2020
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, protects your personal health information from being publicly shared without your consent; however, this only applies to healthcare professionals. In the event that his physician or anyone involved in testing for coronavirus shared this information, that would be a HIPAA violation.
If the source of the positive test is someone such as a family member or a close friend, it would not count as a HIPAA violation as they are not healthcare professionals. According to legal analyst Michael McCann, reporters would also not fall under HIPAA, and can therefore reveal the news.
Journalists reporting on NFL players who test positive for COVID-19 aren't covered entities under HIPAA and so aren't violating HIPAA. Often employers and representatives (outside of those in health care) aren't covered entities, either. And HIPAA has no private right of action.— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) June 15, 2020
Elliott later sent out a few more tweets, claiming that his agent was not Rapoport’s source even though they did confirm the positive test.
My agent only confirmed. The story was already written. Reporters had been called my agent all morning.— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) June 15, 2020
We will update this story as we get more information.