The COVID-19 vaccine has been readily available for all U.S. citizens for months now, and on Thursday, the NFL made clear that they very much want every player to get it. In a memo sent out to all 32 teams, the league said that a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated members of a team would not lead to games getting moved around, as they were last season.
Instead, teams that suffer said outbreak would forfeit the game, accept a loss in the standings, and prevent players on both teams from getting their game checks. It’s very much a “the carrot didn’t work, so here’s the stick” approach from the league, but in response, some players have taken some strange approaches.
Some, like DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals, floated the possibility of just not playing football if need be (Hopkins since deleted his tweet and walked it back). And then, there have been guys like Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, who are asked about whether they got vaccinated and cite HIPAA.
Asked if he is vaccinated, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: “I don’t necessarily think that’s exactly important. I think that’s HIPAA.” pic.twitter.com/EKYI1t4A5S
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) July 23, 2021
This is not HIPAA. Known in full as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA basically means — at least in this context, and to be clear, this is an overly-simplified definition — that healthcare professionals can’t reveal your medical information. It does not mean that a reporter is not allowed to ask you if you got the COVID-19 vaccine. You can just respond by saying, “I do not want to answer this question,” which you can do on any other number of subjects! This same conversation is happening in the world of politics right now, because one particular politician is doing this exact same thing. Regardless of the job, this is not a HIPAA violation.
Anyway, Prescott got some egg on his face for this, because in the aftermath, a bunch of folks took to Twitter and made HIPAA jokes.
your mom asking when she's getting grandkids………hipaa violation
— Astead (@AsteadWesley) July 23, 2021
For the last time: asking me to select all the squares with traffic lights in them is a HIPAA violation
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) July 23, 2021
every anti vaxxer invokes hipaa like it's the legal version of uno draw four
— Astead (@AsteadWesley) July 23, 2021
bored of people being wrong about what HIPAA is, waiting for someone to claim that it’s an infringement of their Third Amendment rights to let government troops (the vax) take up residence in their home (their immune system)
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) July 23, 2021
"I'd like to report a HIPAA violation" pic.twitter.com/ocxpAUDeIn
— Deryck (@DeryckG_) July 23, 2021
On your first day of prison walk up to the biggest meanest guy and tell him it’s illegal to beat you up due to HIPAA
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) July 23, 2021
I’m about to have to do a ton of press, interviews, events etc for the book and I can guarantee you if I get a question I don’t want to answer I’m gonna say sorry you’re violating HIPAA.
— Mike Duncan (@mikeduncan) July 23, 2021
“sorry bro that’s HIPAA” -me when the doctor asks if I’m sexually active
— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) July 23, 2021
my extended family asking me when I’ll get married is a HIPAA violation
— Isaac K. Lee (@IsaacKLee) July 23, 2021
my wife asked me to do the dishes. unfortunately, to me, that’s HIPAA
— Owen Ellickson (@onlxn) July 23, 2021
Asking us how the Lakers could legally add Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Lonzo Ball and Damian Lillard is a HIPAA violation
— Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) July 23, 2021
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
That's a HIPAA
— David Rudin (@DavidSRudin) July 23, 2021
just adding a dash of HIPAA to the convo like parsley on an IG chef's plate https://t.co/vPypd0NHeM
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) July 23, 2021
My new default response whenever I don’t want to answer a question is now going to be, “I can’t tell you. Its a HIPAA violation.”
— Jessica Smetana (@jessica_smetana) July 23, 2021
If you’d like to learn more about what HIPAA is an isn’t, click here.