Donald Penn: The media are tarnishing Josh Freeman’s character


On Tuesday, Buccaneers left tackle Donald Penn was a guest of Bill Polian and Alex Marvez on SiriusXM NFL Radio and discussed the mess surrounding quarterback Josh Freeman’s status with the team.

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 “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.

24 responses to “Donald Penn: The media are tarnishing Josh Freeman’s character

  1. I’m pretty sure he exceeded the amount of times you can use “y’all” in a sentence.

  2. The media should be in full attack mode on Schiano instead of carrying headlines accusing Freeman of being a junkie. Credit to PFT they didn’t go the complete ESPN route – but Schiano needs to be completely the focus of everything and should be torn apart, he’s an awful coach and a worse human being.

  3. The media in this case (and most cases) hasn’t provided one actual source for anything thats been reported. You go to the usual term “sources”, but don’t name them. As Herm Edwards said, put your name on it. You wanna slander people and slam people, at least have the decency to not hide behind “sources”. But its an easy cop out for lazy reporting, so using “sources” will just become more and more common.

  4. Why would the media be on a mission to take down Freeman? That’s something Fox News would say. The media has severy right to report Freeman’s status in the substance abuse program, as long as it’s sourced. It’s part of the story. It’s not looking like Freeman has a lot of character to tarnish.

  5. The media may not be attacking him but in their quickness to be “first” in reporting breaking news every 5 minutes they put out anything they hear. Sorry but that’s not reporting….it’s called gossip. That’s all these guys do now. Journalism is dead.

  6. As others mentioned, its a story that both sides have made worse and are not handling very well. It will stop being news when both sides find a solution without all the mud slinging. If you want “y’all” to stop reporting on this subject, then stop doing everything that makes it a story.

    Easiest solution is for the Buccs to let him go for nothing if they are that geeked up about getting rid of Freeman. Sure they are still on the hook for that inflated contract, but getting the guy out of the mix would do wonders for the story going away.

  7. I don’t like Josh Freeman…. and I KNOW…. he is getting railroaded.

    David Geffen would be proud of the way the Glazers/Schiano are handling it.

    I love that shark… David Geffen.

  8. An excellent article from PewterReport, a website with real local journalist (it’s not a blog, it’s actual sports reporters in the Tampa Bay area) had this to say…

    “Freeman didn’t lose the team as “Bucs sources” were whispering to the national media members so they could report that and continue to make Freeman seem like he’s the problem in Tampa Bay when he’s not. Schiano has lost the team due to the way he’s handled the likeable Freeman this year.

    Ask yourself this question. Why are national reporters like Ian Rappaport, Mike Silver, Mike Garafalo and Jay Glazer getting all of this anti-Freeman spin from One Buccaneer Place when they aren’t in Tampa and don’t cover the team on a regular basis. Yet the local reporters and sports radio talk show hosts, who are at One Buccaneer Place daily, are not falling for the spin and are recognizing the coaching staff’s shortcomings are really to blame for the 1-9 mark in the last 10 games?

    The iron-fisted Schiano has done a good job of locking down the players from openly talking to the media. His first rule when he stepped foot in One Buccaneer Place was to tell the players they could no longer call, talk to or text media members with their cell phones. He was telling grown men and professional athletes that they could only talk to the media with a member of the Bucs public relations staff present.

    When the players are in the open locker room the public relations staff is in full force and has been directed to hover around and overhear nearly every conversation and interview, so very few off-the-record encounters between players and the media happen inside the locker room anymore.

    The reason why the players have been very tight-lipped to the media through the whole 0-4 ordeal is because of good team leadership by Joseph, McCoy, Jackson and others, who are following orders, and because of the fear of Schiano’s wrath.”

    That’s what Joesph is talking about with the media — and I think it’s clear that all goes back to the coach.

  9. It’s hard to give the media, the benefit of doubt, especially when you recall the Riley Cooper story, that the media just wouldn’t let die, despite comments running 10-1 for it to stop.

  10. Donald Penn is as mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take this anymore; unless it comes with a side of mashed potatos, macaroni & cheese, coleslaw, and an extra bisquit.

  11. “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.”


    Wrong. Just because you can report a thing, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD report that thing. There used to be a standard of ethics in journalism, even sports journalism. Now “y’all” have sold out your dignity and ethics for web hits. This was not “news”, this was Freeman’s private medical information. Chris Mortenson should be held accountable for putting it out in the public domain.

  12. Can we just have people pound the thumbs up to show their support for Freeman? This kid is getting rocked…I had the chance to meet him a couple years ago…seems like a great kid getting the shaft here. Hit the thumbs up to give him some love!

  13. As a saints fan its easy to see the media and Schiano are trying to ruin freemans career. Up until Schiano came the bucs played us tough to the point where we were dead even against freeman and the bucs. He played us better than ATL. Since day 1 Schiano has hated freeman, and now he’s broken this team and the longer he stays, the longer the cleanup is gonna be. For the sake of competition, I hope they fire him.

  14. Breaking news released by detectives Penn and Suggs: Y’all was Roger Goodell’s co-conspirator in the Super Bowl power outage!!

  15. The only way Schiano regains control of the locker room is cut everyone who he didn’t personally recruit to Rutgers. This is the 2nd guy in 2 days complaining. You can’t honestly think they’re the only ones.

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