Freeman incident damaging player-franchise trust
Josh Freeman, former starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fell out of favor with some undisclosed issues with the team. He was stricken off the active roster and lost his starting position, after which the team tried to get him off the team. However, the situation soured and the quarterback now accuses the team of leaking personal information about him.
The information leaked was that Freeman was on NFL Stage 1 drug program after he has mistakenly mixed prescription medicines. He also had to reveal that he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) due to which he was in the program.
It is very clear that all players are entitled to their privacy if they are suffering from a medical problem or are receiving counseling. As long as they are clean from illegal substances or the usual rules haven’t been violated, he must be left alone.
But all that changed when the information was leaked. Freeman is currently being traded by the team and this has hurt his reputation badly, making him a bad prospect for now and the future.
NFLPA exec. Director DeMaurice Smith has said that he will work with the NFL to determine the source of the leak and the assailants be brought to justice. Freeman is accusing the franchise of leaking the information to hurt his image. He alleges that that franchise plans to cut him while keeping the money they owe him and for that they are building a behavioral misconduct suit against him.
Harry Edwards, a sociologist and San Francisco 49ers consultant said "It makes it extremely difficult. The league is a very small fraternity. Even when it's not your sport, you can get blow-back for different events,” he said. "When all of those names came out in baseball — all of a sudden there was a list, and this was supposed to be confidential? — I was approached by guys in basketball and football. They said, 'How are we supposed to believe in the process?”
No doubt the bond between a team and the support staff has been hurt by this incident. Only the investigations will reveal the real culprit and bring closure to the matter.