During the conversation, Penn lamented that it became public that Freeman was in the substance-abuse program and said “they’re really trying to bring him down.” Penn didn’t specify who “they” were, but he cleared that up on Wednesday. Penn said that he was referring to the media, who he accused of trying to tarnish Freeman.
“Y’all. The media. The media. The media. The media. Y’all,” Penn said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “Y’all are all trying to find any way to tarnish his character and make it sound like he is not a good guy, like he is not a good person, like this is all his fault. That is y’all reporting that stuff. That is y’all. So don’t try to switch it up like it isn’t y’all. It’s y’all. The media.”
The media has been guilty of reporting “that stuff,” but the stuff that’s kept this story from dying out isn’t just appearing because the media has an axe to grind. The fuel from the fire has come from all sides and left everyone looking at least a little worse for the wear.
Someone leaked Freeman’s status in the substance-abuse program, which Freeman referred to in his statement to PFT about being in the program when he said “people have chosen to attack the character of others” at a tough moment. The NFLPA is investigating those leaks and the media’s likely to keep reporting on those developments as well as any others having to do with the relationship between Freeman and the Bucs.
If all is quiet, there will be nothing to report. Recent history on the two sides suggests that’s not going to be the case, though.