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Unethical reporting from Steve Simmons leads to speculation on a possible Leafs COVID-19 case

Let’s start with the shared statement from the Leafs that was made to Chris Johnston, one of the most respectable reporters in hockey.

Of course the story didn’t start that way, and instead we were treated to a “POSTMEDIA EXCLUSIVE” by Steve Simmons, shared by Steve Simmons identifying a specific player on the Leafs who he had heard from his sources has been infected with COVID-19.

Now I know you already know the player, but damned if we are going to feed into the any kind of mentality where it’s okay to:

  1. Publicly share private medical information
  2. Speculate on other possible cases
  3. Go through any form of ridiculousness where we wonder how this impacts the Leafs.

We care a lot about hockey, probably too much, but an individual fighting a serious, potentially deadly virus is a bit more important than who will slot in where against the Blue Jackets in a month or so.

There are few things I can think of that are less ethical than sharing medical records, and for health organizations it’s an instantly fireable offence. Assuming that was Steve Simmons’ source, I hope there will be an investigation into individuals in that health authority, and if it was any other paper than The Sun you’d imagine they’d want to discipline their reporter for this invasion of privacy.

Of course Simmons has a history of citing poor sources for the sake of sensationalism. Pension Plan Puppets previous debunked his fraudulent story about Phil Kessel and his favourite hotdog cart.

So while we certainly all have heard the rumour, beyond hoping it isn’t true, we will respect what is left of the player’s privacy, and assuming they are infected we wish them a full recovery.

As for Steve Simmons, I don’t expect anything from the Sun. The ship has sailed on them ever doing the right thing long ago, but hopefully The Pro Hockey Writers Association will realize how poorly this reflects on them as well and address this breach of privacy.