Several athletes and celebrities have chosen to reveal that they tested positive for the coronavirus in order to help spread awareness, but Christian Wood apparently was not one of them. When word of Wood’s COVID-19 diagnosis went public two weeks ago, it was a violation of the Detroit Pistons forward’s privacy.
Dwane Casey spoke with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently about the wild events leading up to the postponement of the NBA season and Wood testing positive for the coronavirus, and the Pistons coach said the team was “mystified” when a report in The Athletic broke the news about Wood. The 24-year-old did not authorize anyone to share information about the diagnosis, and Casey said the report came out before Wood even had a chance to tell his own mother:
“That’s why we were so mystified when it leaked out. Christian was upset his name got out there. He didn’t release it. And the worst part was it got out before Christian even had a chance to tell his mom.
“I was very unhappy about that. I told our staff, ‘This is unprofessional. This can’t happen again.’ It was so unfair to our player.”
Unfortunately, we live in an era where media leaks are all too common — even with extremely sensitive information. Someone broke the law by violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) when they allowed word of Wood’s coronavirus diagnosis to get out. If Wood wanted to, he could pursue legal action.
Wood had guarded Rudy Gobert in Detroit’s March 7 game against the Utah Jazz, and Gobert later became the first known player in the NBA to test positive for COVID-19. Casey says Wood complained of a sore throat prior to the Pistons’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers on May 11, but Wood said he was feeling better by game time and had no other symptoms.
Plenty of influential people have volunteered information about their coronavirus diagnoses as a way of urging the public to take the pandemic more seriously, and it’s possible Wood was planning to do the same. However, that decision should be his and his alone to make.
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