As nasty as the Buccaneers season has been -- with the 0-4 start, the trio of MRSA cases, and, of course, the Josh Freeman situation -- it sounds like life might get even nastier for the team and for coach Greg Schiano.
Already under fire for how his team has played and for how he got rid of Freeman, the NFLPA now believes Schiano was the one to leak Freeman’s personal information, according to USA Today.
The union now wants to co-lead an investigation with the league in order to question Schiano. “The union says it has no confidence in the NFL's separate investigation, in part because the union is unaware of any previous league investigation into a confidentiality breach that has yielded discipline,” writes USA Today.
The NFLPA reportedly thinks the breach occurred when Schiano talked with other Buccaneers players about how Freeman was in the NFL’s substance-abuse program. This reportedly occurred before Freeman was released earlier this month.
"We take the confidentiality provision of the policy as seriously as the union and will vigorously pursue any leads the union provides," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement. "However, such information should be shared confidentially with our office rather than inappropriately leaked to the media before the investigation has been concluded."
This portion of the story begins when ESPN reported that Freeman was in the first stage of the league’s drug policy. In some quarters, the leak provoked outrage because it was such a blatant invasion of Freeman’s privacy.
Freeman responded by releasing a long statement that read in part:
“Let me be very clear. I have NEVER tested positive for any illegal drugs or related substances. Further, I have agreed to take, and have PASSED 46 NFL-regulated drug tests over the last year and a half.
"Since the confidentiality of my medical status has been publicly violated, I am choosing to address this matter so that grossly erroneous assumptions about me do not persist. Like millions of Americans, I have ADHD and I have been prescribed and permitted to take medication to treat this condition for the entirety of my NFL career …
“Unfortunately, it appears that some people who may have noticed the testing at my workplace have made hurtful and incorrect assumptions and chosen to disseminate inaccurate and very disturbing information.”
Earlier this month, Schiano contended that he was not the leak, saying, "I know what I've done. I'm 100 percent comfortable with my behavior."