Ezekiel Elliott is none too pleased that his medical information was made for public consumption.
The Dallas Cowboys‘ star running back, among “several” of the team’s players to recently test positive for COVID-19, took to Twitter to fire back in response to the news, alleging that his HIPAA rights were violated by a leaky source.
— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) June 15, 2020
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was the first to report on the coronavirus cases Monday, noting that multiple members of the Houston Texans also returned positive tests. Rapoport seemingly confirmed the diagnosis with Elliott’s agent, Rocky Arceneaux, who claimed his client is “feeling good.”
But Zeke absolved Arceneaux of blame as far as HIPAA goes. The implication is that someone outside of his circle forwarded the information to Rapoport.
“My agent only confirmed. The story was already written. Reporters had been called my agent all morning,” he tweeted.
He added: “My agent didn’t break the story to the media.”
Formally known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA is a federal law that protects a patient’s health-care data from being shared without the patient’s consent.
It’s unclear if Elliott is considering legal action against the leaker or is simply trying to defend Arceneaux for disclosing his client’s status to Rapoport. If it’s the former, Elliott may not have much of a case, according to former Chargers team doctor David Chao.
Media is not covered under #HIPAA. I get why this feels like a privacy violation but just like injury reports on @NFL players, it is legal as long as the medical care chain not doing the leaking. https://t.co/BdZpckgXye
— David J. Chao – ProFootballDoc (@ProFootballDoc) June 15, 2020
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Background on Zeke’s Positive Test
WFAA’s Mike Leslie reported that Elliott was tested last week and only did so “because he was around someone with it.” Leslie was told the 24-year-old is “feeling great” and not exhibiting any ongoing symptoms from the virus.
Rapoport opted against revealing any additional players by name, though quarterback Dak Prescott was not among those afflicted by the virus, he said Monday afternoon on NFL Network. That’s the extent of what is known — and what can be aired — as of this writing.
“Due to federal and local privacy laws, we are unable to provide information regarding the personal health of any of our employees,” Rapoport was told in a brief statement from the team.
News of Elliott’s positive test should come as no surprise to NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills. Sills stated last month that the league is “fully” expecting such cases to spike as parts of the country re-open following months of shelter-in-place orders to combat the pandemic.
“We fully expect that we will have positive cases that arise. … Our challenge is to identify them as quickly as possible and prevent spread to any other participants,” he said, via Rapoport.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL