Dariusgate probe widening?

I haven't seen any reference to this story posted anywhere here yet. If I missed it, please accept my apologies and go ahead and delete forthwith. However, I feel it has important - albeit troubling - implications for the Blazer franchise and is therefore worthy of note.

Last week, in the comments section of Ben's post about Miles' suspension for the use of diet pills, I wrote about the disturbing ethical implications of Portland's possible complicity in how Miles' confidential medical information was leaked to the press. In my comment, I wrote:

If it does come out that the Blazers were the party responsible for leaking word of Miles’ suspension to the public-at-large, I’m afraid it would reflect extremely poorly on the team. Not only would they have violated Miles’ right to have his medical information kept private, but it would appear to have been done with the intent of deterring other teams from giving him a chance.

Now, according to the Trib's Dwight Jaynes, the Blazers may be subject to investigation for "violation of federal regulations in regard to public comments about the medical condition of former player Darius Miles." In this case, the "public comments" in question were not related to the details of Miles' substance abuse suspension. Rather, the concern appears to be that Pritchard may have been too free and easy in disclosing the particulars of Miles' knee injury to the press. Jaynes writes:

The problem for Pritchard and the Blazers is that those statements could be a violation of the privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Availability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Since the HIPAA privacy rule went into effect on April 14, 2003, pro and college teams in all sports have been very reluctant to reveal specific details of player injuries without the permission of the player.

Why would the Blazers risk possible charges of violating federal law? Again, Jaynes:

Obviously, [the] incentive for the Blazers [is] to hope Miles never plays again. And perhaps an incentive for the team to be as negative as possible in describing Miles’ chances of ever playing again — thereby discouraging other teams from taking a chance on him.

I had speculated in my comments on Ben's post that this may indeed have been the Blazers' incentive for leaking news of Miles' substance abuse suspension.  Obviously, I am not privy to high level discussions in the Blazers' front office so I have no idea if this is true or not. But whatever the motivations, this whole situation is beginning to stink to high heaven. It seems that at the very least, the team may be guilty of a HIPAA violation, no trivial matter. And, at the worst, the team might also be guilty of employing underhanded tactics to hinder a player from pursuing his career on another team.

Flame away...