Earlier tonight, Chris Mortensen reported that Josh Freeman was a participant in what is called Stage 1 of the NFL’s drug program. A player can go into stage 1 for a number of reasons, such as a legal issue involving a substance, a positive drug test, or self-referral for treatment. The report was vague from sources–he was not subject to suspension for the next violation, it was not for illegal drugs, and that he had a temporary use exemption for a prescription drug.
Freeman immediately came out with a statement tonight in light of the leak, “so that grossly erroneous assumptions about [him] do not persist.” In it, he says that he has ADHD and has been taking medication for it since he entered the league, and took a different drug (Ritalin) than the one for which he had an exemption (Adderall). As a result, he has been taking drug tests to prove it was a one time mistake. He claims to have passed 46 drug tests.
Nothing in his statement conflicts with anything reported in the leaked info to Mortensen. It appears he is positioning to challenge this breach as well. It’s an issue that is also close to my heart.
So, the question is, what is Roger Goodell going to do about this very public and conspicuous breach of the Drug Policy? The Drug Policy says the information is confidential, and a breach of confidentiality is subject to a fine, potentially up to $500,000. We have seen plenty of breaches, from players going through the draft, to most recently the information that came out on Von Miller. In many of these cases, though, the source of the breach is hard to detect. For example, when it comes to a draftable rookie, it could be a rival agent, it could be any of a number of teams. It’s doubtful that it was someone in the Denver organization leaking info on Von Miller.
Here, though, this leak just happened to coincide with Josh Freeman being benched and being subject to what appears to be a feud with his coach, Greg Schiano. It would be pretty unlikely that this leak originated with someone in the Arizona organization. The source was likely someone in the Tampa Bay organization.
It’s a bad look, coming at the end of a bad stretch, for a team off to an 0-4 start. They have dealt with the MRSA issue and claims that the organization did not handle that properly. Roger Goodell needs to take this breach seriously. Investigate it. Call people to the office just like the player who gets into a skirmish at the local bar. Make people uncomfortable.
And if this goes back to Greg Schiano, oh boy. It’s looking like he may not be long for this league anyway, but this would pretty much put an end to his time in the NFL.