NFLPA “coming after everyone” for breach of Freeman’s confidentiality under drug program

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The ongoing drama regarding Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman continues.

A day after ESPN’s Chris Mortensen dropped a fairly ominous hint regarding the possibility that Freeman is in the league’s substance-abuse program, Mortensen reports that Freeman is in Stage One.

It means that Freeman has done something — either a failed drug test, a missed test, or some other violation of the substance-abuse policy — to land in the lowest level of the program.

Mortensen reports that Freeman isn’t one strike away from a suspension, and that Freeman has a therapeutic use exemption for a prescription drug that is otherwise banned. (Mortensen doesn’t mention whether the medication is banned by the substance-abuse policy or the performance-enhancing drug policy.)

Typically, multiple violations of the substance-abuse policy are required before a suspension arises.  One violation of the performance-enhancing drug policy typically triggers a suspension.

The broader problem is that someone has committed a significant breach of the confidentiality requirements of the substance-abuse policy. A player’s status in the program is supposed to remain secret unless and until a suspension is finalized.

Breaches of the confidentiality relating to the substance-abuse program, which covers recreational substances, are all too common. Rarely if ever is action taken.

This time, it could be different. Per a league source, the NFLPA will be “coming after everyone” to determine who violated the confidentiality provisions by leaking news of Freeman’s status to Mortensen.

The leak could have come from one or more potential sources. The Buccaneers would know about Freeman’s status.  The league office would know, as would Freeman’s representatives.

Other teams would be entitled to know Freeman’s status only if Freeman were one strike away from a suspension.

It could be difficult to prove who said what to whom, but it’s about time the words on paper regarding the consequences of confidentiality (i.e., a fine of up to $500,000) come to life via an effort to prove who has violated the player’s legal rights under the CBA.

Even if the offender in this case is never caught, an aggressive attempt to enforce the rule could prompt folks who may be tempted to leak confidential drug policy information in the future to think twice.

69 responses to “NFLPA “coming after everyone” for breach of Freeman’s confidentiality under drug program

  1. And yet they can’t blame anyone for their own shortcomings if nobody – that includes everyone involved in the process – doesn’t take the NFLPA’s threat seriously. I don’t.

  2. When exactly did the NFL become a soap opera?? Seems all we read or hear about is off the field stuff like this. But I guess its more exciting to some than the two hand touch games we see on the field.

  3. Man, just a bunch of backstabbers, how about the reporters suckibg ass too? Freeman must have knocked up schianos daughter or something

  4. So how does a safety (Tanard Jackson) get suspended for first 3 games and then an entire season for smoking marijuana, but a QB gets a pass. This is the first time I know of that a franchise QB is on dope, and then everyone feels sorry for this loser. Give me Mike Glennon any day. Freeman you are a doped up scumbag, go back to Kansas where you came from. Leave football to professionals.

  5. It is Chris Mortensen’s job to get the news out. There is no way he should be punished, but there is no way they will catch the person who leaked the information. That is asking too much.

  6. Funny, this was the same situation with the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman and yet, instead of lamenting the breach of confidentiality, the sports media were falling all over themselves to publish the news of his PED testing process even while it was contractually obligated to be confidential at that point.

  7. I hope it all leads back to Greg Schiano and, frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if it did.

    I’ve loved the Bucs for about twenty-five years, even though they haven’t exactly been a model organization–they’re my team; and your team is your team. However, this sad, sordid tale needs to end. I don’t care what the team does with Freeman–I personally think he’s redeemable, but I understand that I’m in the minority in that thought.

    But, Schiano HAS to go. It’s one thing to hate your coach (as both fans and players) if they’re a rousing success, but Schiano is just a hard-assed prick that consistently embarrasses the organization both personally AND with the team that is the product of his coaching.

    He has done NOTHING to engender any goodwill and has no success to sustain the fans having to suffer through both the losing AND the circus. It’s the worst of all worlds.

    Please, please, please–Glazers, Dominick, whoever; for the love of god, fire this walking dumpster-fire of a coach.

  8. Good for the NFLPA. Even as celebrities the players have a right to some privacy. I really don’t care if someone smokes a blunt or gets a DUI. And its likely not PEDs because it says that usually gets a suspension on the first strike.

    Could be Freeman just missed a test – he missed the team picture after all.

  9. tsaroffootball says:

    Sep 30, 2013 8:26 PM

    What I’m curious about is this a HIPAA violation? Someone leaked confidential medical information…


    As I understand it, HIPAA regulates the use and disclosure of medical information by certain entities/individuals (health care providers, etc.). A Bucs secretary, for instance, is not bound by HIPPA privacy rules. Possibly some other State regulations but not HIPPA.

  10. “Freeman needs to go to the Texans. I’m over Schaub”

    – Guy who has never seen Freeman play

  11. Am no big fan of the NFLPA but they SHOULD go after everyone for this. That’s just wrong and the contract along with Freeman’s rights were violated.

  12. It is pretty common knowledge that Josh likes to do the club scene around Tampa. Maybe he has just taken the relaxing thing a little too far. Though it might explain the seemingly radical change in his personality and attitude. And let’s not forget the weight he lost in the off season!

  13. bucsfansouthoftampa-I can only assume u are joking thinking no qb had a drug god wake up buddy, just look at that 1983 draft class.guess u don’t remember those rumors in the earl90’s of qb’s with multiple failed drug/cocaine test that were supposedly hushed up

  14. Did some of you guys who are trashing Josh Freeman even read the article? The article clearly said
    “Mortensen reports that Freeman isn’t one strike away from a suspension, and that Freeman has a therapeutic use exemption for a prescription drug that is otherwise banned. (Mortensen doesn’t mention whether the medication is banned by the substance-abuse policy or the performance-enhancing drug policy.)”

    That could be anything. Asthma steroidal medicines, Diabetes medicine, Sickle Cell Anemia medicine. Literally anything. Some people are so quick to judge and slime others from inside their glass houses.

    This is a ridiculous, sleazy and heinous leak to a paid stooge (Chris Mortenson). Who was also instrumental in getting Vince Young blackballed in the NFL. Mortenson obviously has some issues.

    But back to the leak. The Glazer family should dump Shiano and anyone else who was involved in the entire Josh Freeman debacle. Not only have they ruined a promising young talent. But now they are actively engaged in a smear campaign that reduces his trade value for the Glazer’s. That Ownership group needs to fire the head coach immediately. And put the GM on notice for this. Then clean house after the season is over.

  15. The circus has moved north from Sarasota, the house of Ringling to Tampa and the Bucs. We’ve been dealing with freaks forever. Strike up the band Schiano, bring out the bearded woman and the sword swallower!

  16. I think the Bucs should hire another PR guy and put the gag order on Schiano on this. I don’t know if that is possible but this story line is taking over the headlines for a winless Bucs team. Either way this is a great diversion for Schiano.

  17. LoL…it appears some morons can’t read or don’t understand what “therapeutic use exemptions” means. Also, stage one can mean he missed an appointment…no big deal and certainly not enough to have his career ruined by a bunch of malicious bottom feeders masquerading as “journalists”. A good journalist always verifies his source and Mortenson should be compelled to name his snitch or be held responsible for divulging confidential medical information, a HIPAA violation which should be penalized severely.

  18. chriscaporale says:Sep 30, 2013 8:34 PM

    It is Chris Mortensen’s job to get the news out. There is no way he should be punished, but there is no way they will catch the person who leaked the information. That is asking too much.
    You are partially correct in that no fine would be issued on Mortenson. However if the NFL were to limit his access to teams or the NFLPA told his members not to talk with him until he disclosed who gave him the info………

    Face it, an “NFL insider” could be turned into persona non grata very quickly which means that any network employing him would be paying his salary for nothing which I suspect would not last very long.

  19. Having dealt (Painfully) with HIPPA for a number of years it applies to anyone/everyone who works in any way shape or form with an office, agency, business that has protected personal health information. That would include the secratary, the info desk or a janitor. it prevents private information from being the source of public knowledge in the press or fodder for gossip. It also prevents me from giving the family of adangerous mentally ill patient information about that person to protect them…
    Nope, the team could be on the hook for a Federal complaint, investigation…

  20. You’ve listed most of the people at One Buc Place that would know about Freeman taking his 46 drug tests at work,,.except all of his teammates. Maybe one of them leaked it. Maybe…May be.

  21. Schiano is a scumbag, this is just another reason for the players to hate him. No way you can trust a coach that throws his starting quarterback under the bus and than the wolves. It’s no coincidence Freeman’s poor play coincided with the arrival of schiano

  22. Schiano had better save up those last few paychecks. He’s going to need to give some of that money back in the forthcoming civil suit.

  23. If leaks are all too common and action is rarely taken, what is the problem? And if leaks are all too common why is there a rule if action is rarely taken? So I suppose you wake one morning and say, ehhh I dont feel like taking action on this case, but tomorrow I will go after everyone!! Funny

  24. There is only one person who I could imagine wanted this leaked to make said team look bad, his agent.

    There is no reason in hell the team would do it accidentally or not because it now makes his worth a lot less in any trade talk. Its like denting your own car deliberately before driving it to trade in.

    No the person who wants to make the team and coach look bad and himself look the victim, is the victim.

  25. What is wrong with people. First there is an insinuation from who else, Freeman, the victim.

    Now people are automatically hanging a guy who may not even be aware he is in the program.

    Kind of reminds me of RichRod. Certain important alumni at Mich didn’t like him or his coaching style. They methodically trashed him and the program. They never supported him or gave him a chance. It was controversy from day one. They wanted old time power running football and gosh darn it they were going to get it. The spread? Who ever heard of the spread?

  26. Why so u assume the Bucs released this information? If they wanted tondo this they would have done it last season when he entered the program or this summer? This is from Josh’s camp who are trying to force a divorce from the Bucs with him keeping all of the remaining money in his contract!! Dude is going out like a sucker!!

  27. The only way to stop this is to ban journalists who report confidential information from attending games or taking part in live game broadcasts. Our society likes to give journalists immunity from every rule that effects everyone else, but a journalist who reports confidential personal medical information against a players will and league rules does not belong in stadiums any more than a fan who streaks out on the field and delays the game.

  28. All I can say is that if the therapeutic exemption is for anything that enhances performance he needs to get his doctor increase the dosage.

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