Bucs coach Greg Schiano.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY Sports, the NFLPA wants the league to participate in a joint investigation that would allow union officials to question Schiano, who has denied any wrongdoing, about leaking information concerning Freeman’s participation in the NFL’s substance abuse program:
In correspondence obtained Saturday by USA TODAY Sports, 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.
And the NFLPA contends it has information the original breach occurred when Schiano discussed Freeman's status in the league's substance-abuse program with other Buccaneers players, prior to the quarterback's Oct. 3 release.
Freeman admitted he was in Stage 1 of the NFL’s drug-testing program after it was leaked to the media. The quarterback said he had a prescription for Adderall to treat ADHD, but last year he accidentally took Ritalin, which triggered a positive test. As a result, he voluntarily agreed to frequent drug screenings, which led to his placement in the league's drug program. Freeman said he passed 46 drug tests since being in the program.
However, Pelissero reports that cooperation between the NFL and NFLPA would be unprecedented:
In the correspondence obtained Saturday by USA TODAY Sports, the union laid out nine cases in which the NFL said it would investigate a breach of confidentiality but never announced discipline, which the league has threatened could be substantial.
One of those cases involves Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, whose past drug use appeared in media reports while the NFL and union were negotiating what ended up being a six-game suspension this summer. An investigation into that breach is likely at some point, too.
Regardless of the outcome, this is another blow to the Bucs’ organization.
In addition to the Freeman debacle, a third Bucs player was recently diagnosed with MRSA. Tampa Bay previously placed kicker Lawrence Tynes on the non-football injury list instead of injured reserve to avoid admitting he acquired the infection at the Bucs’ facility, and possibly elude any financial liability. Tynes’ wife eventually blasted the organization on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay remains winless this season after losing Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-20. The 0-5 mark is perhaps the biggest knock against Schiano right now.
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