Adam Schefter BRISTOL, CT – AUGUST 18: Adam Schefter joined ESPN as an NFL Insider in August 2009 and appears on a variety of programs, including NFL Insiders, NFL Live, Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, SportsCenter and more throughout the year. He also contributes regularly to other platforms, including and ESPN Radio. Schefter has covered the NFL for over 20 years and is regarded as one of the top reporters in the industry. (Photo by Christopher Capozziello/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Jason Pierre-Paul’s legal action against ESPN and Adam Schefter is winding its way through the court system.

Pierre-Paul is claiming that ESPN and Schefter violated privacy laws when Schefter sent this tweet:

(What follows should probably all come with a major caveat that this is far from an expert legal opinion.) That’s still up, which you might consider surprising. But then if ESPN’s stance is that they did nothing wrong by publishing it, deleting it could be construed as an admission of wrongdoing. But if those are medical records, and it says pretty much just that in the tweet, how is it not an open-and-shut case of a privacy violation?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s because Pierre-Paul authorized the release of that information? That’s what the initial argument is, according to court filings.

Via Pro Football Talk:

Following the point-by-point admit/deny/don’t know portion of the answer comes what the legal system calls “affirmative defenses.” It’s typically a laundry list of all potential arguments that could arise during the course of preparing the case for trial that would support an effort by the defendants to say, basically, “What you’re claiming may be true, but we still should win because of ___________.”

In this case, ESPN and Schefter claim that Pierre-Paul “authorized” the publication of his medical records. Which means, technically, that he gave the green light to the disclosure of his medical records to Schefter, and that Pierre-Paul likewise agreed to allow Schefter to publish the medical records to his Twitter following. If true, it makes me wonder why the litigation even exists.

This opens up a few questions.

First, it’s important to recognize that just because this is filed, it doesn’t mean there’s any real evidence behind it. But from an outside perspective, just look at the picture. It’s clearly a medical record, and according to this Florida statute, Schefter circulating that image would be a violation. Why would ESPN take such a hardline defensive posture if they have nothing supporting them? Wouldn’t that be an apology and a settlement? It wouldn’t even be that embarrassing to Schefter, who could use the “anything for a story”defense and move on from there.

But instead, they’re willing to fight it in court, which means they must at least have something that their defense team believes constitutes, or at least comes close enough to constituting, authorization from Jason Pierre-Paul, or another party authorized to make such authorizations.

Whether they have enough for the court to rule in their favor remains to be seen.

[Pro Football Talk]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.

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