NFLPA 'sufficiently concerned' about evidence to investigate Bucs on Freeman drug test breach
The NFL player's union is 'sufficiently concerned,' about hearsay evidence that the Bucs may have leaked confidential information about Josh Freeman's participation in the substance abuse program to begin a joint investigation with the league.
"I think we are sufficiently concerned about what we've heard to begin an investigation,'' NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Tuesday. "I believe that the league has the same interests that we have in trying to determine what happened. I look forward to working with (NFL Commissioner) Roger (Goodell) and people from the league in order to conduct that investigation. But on behalf of our players, it's also important for all of our players and fans to know that our system works if people abide by the rules.
"If we have a concern that the rules have been intentionally broken, no one is going to be exempt from the consequences.''
Freeman said Monday he voluntarily agreed to be tested under the NFL’s substance abuse program after switching from Adderall to Ritalin to treat ADHD. Freeman says he passed 46 league-administered drug tests over the last 18 months at One Buc Place.
The revelation was in response to a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that Freeman was in stage one of the program but had authorization from the league for a prescription drug.
Smith was in Tampa for a scheduled annual meeting with Bucs players about union benefits. He praised Freeman for the way he has dealt with the matter.
"We believe it's important to maintain the confidentiality,'' Smith said. "I appreciate the manner in which Josh has handled this personally because he is a good young man. But this issue is a bigger issue about what's right with respect to the relationship between players and management and when those issues come to bear, this is a union that will stand up for its players.
"We have a collective bargaining agreement that mandates and protects confidentiality and privacy. If we believe that any member of the team management or anyone from the league has deliberately taken steps to thwart that privacy and to breach that confidentiality, this union will take every step and file every grievance and pursue any law to rectify that.''