Invasion of Privacy in Sports

Topics: First Amendment to the United States Constitution, American football, NCAA Football series Pages: 9 (3247 words) Published: December 5, 2013
Invasion of Privacy in Sports
Introduction
Do we even have any privacy anymore? With today’s fast paced, never ending social networks and media outlets, it seems that nothing could get through its grasps. Invasion of Privacy is described as “A reasonable expectation of privacy involves an intentional or negligent highly offensive intrusion into the plaintiff’s private life and resulting in damages to the plaintiff” (Mulrooney & Styles, 2012, p. 13). In sports there are several ways in which athletes or sports figures privacy could be invaded. The question is, is it Invasion of Privacy, or did they simply just feel violated? Description of Invasion of Privacy

Every individual has a right to his or her own privacy. When they feel that right has been violated, it becomes an issue of what a reasonable person believes is an invasion of privacy, and whether or not it caused damages to the person. A reasonable person has to base their opinion on judgment calls instead of basing them on a mandated set of rules or guidelines. There are different situations for every intrusion, with no set guidelines to follow, but “a reasonable expectation of privacy is used to determine aspects of a plaintiff’s life that would be deemed private” (Mulrooney & Styles, 2012, p. 13). An intrusion does not have to include physical contact either, but must cause damages to the plaintiff. Posting a picture of an underage child may cause “Emotional distress or mental anguish [and] is sufficient cause for damages and therefore the plaintiff does not need to prove and special damages” (Mulrooney & Styles, 2012, p. 13). Four Elements

Invasion of Privacy includes four elements of Public Disclosure. The first is that “defendant must disclose private facts that are highly offensive” (Mulrooney & Styles, 2012, p. 13-14). Unless they are not considered offensive to a reasonable person, there is no case to begin with. Second, the public should have no interest or reason to know the information that was made public. Personal matters are a shaky issue. Depending on your status in the public eye depends on how a reasonable person views you. If you are celebrity, athlete, or politician, more than likely anything that happens in your personal life will get out in public and will not be considered an invasion of privacy because of the status of the individual in the general public. On the other hand, let us take an everyday citizen, who may have some kind of medical condition. If their doctor tells the media about it, they would have a legitimate case of invasion of privacy. There is no reason for the public to know, and it may have been highly offensive to the individual. Thirdly, the defendant must be wrong for their intrusion on the plaintiff’s privacy. If we stick with the sick patient and the doctor, the doctor had not right for telling anyone about his patient’s medical condition. The doctor has a right to not disclose of his patients information to the public, no matter how bad the patient may be. Last, the act or information brought forth must have caused damages to the plaintiff, whether it is physical or non-physical. Although the doctor may not have harmed their patient physically, it would have caused emotional distress. Defenses

Consent, the main to defense to invasion of privacy, is a very “watery” defense. There are three types of consent, but without all the details the defense may be weak. Express consent is based on written or oral communication, apparent consent is when a reasonable person believes consent has been given, and implied consent (Mulrooney & Styles, 2012, p. 9). If all the information is not provided, consent may be withdrawn before anything is written up about a case. A second defense is newsworthiness. The media can say that almost every story or publication is newsworthy. However, the plaintiff can claim that their “image is not being used for commercial gain (Mulrooney & Styles, 2012, p. 14). The last defense to invasion of...
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