This is not a sad saga about Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman. The promising signal caller was kicked to the street by the National Football League team, which put him on waivers just eight days after replacing him with rookie Mike Glennon.
Even worse than that is the sad story involving the violation of NFL confidentiality rules regarding the fifth-year quarterback by someone with the Tampa Bay franchise.
In his article, “The Sliming of Josh Freeman,” sports writer Dave Zirin speculates: “Would the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their head coach Greg Schiano leak confidential information that implied one of their own players was on drugs as a way to deflect attention from another wretched season? Schiano says “absolutely not.” But the facts point in the direction of him or his staff, and the facts are ugly as hell.”
It was leaked that Freeman was in “stage one” of the NFL’s drug testing program. But why?
Because he voluntarily entered after he tested positive one time for a banned substance, a prescription medication for ADHD. Zirin reports that Freeman had been tested 46 times over the last 18 months for every possible substance and passed every time.
Drug testing and the like is supposed to be confidential under league rules. Even Freeman’s franchise wasn’t supposed to know about it.
Zirin points to coach Schiano, describing him as “cyanogenic.” Zirin adds that “it is hard to think of any quarterback, or any human who could mesh with the tyrannical, browbeating former Rutgers coach.” His coaching style is a combo of “General Patton and Chet from Weird Science.”
No matter who slimed Freeman, will the NFL treat this as a serious breach of confidentiality? Will the league protect players’ reputations from being wrongfully tarnished by insinuations and blatant half-truths?
Zirin’s take: “When it comes to players, (NFL Commissioner Roger) Goodell is Eastwood. When it comes to disciplining management, he is more like the empty chair.”
Dr. Fred Cromartie, the Academy’s Director of Doctoral Studies, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.