The NFL and the NFLPA don't agree on everything, but they can come together when it comes to the confidentiality of the league's substance-abuse program. Information concerning Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman's status in the program came out publicly on Monday, and the NFL wants to find out how.
On Wednesday's edition of NFL Network's "Around the League Live," NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the league plans to investigate the leak, per a source informed of the matter. Rapoport added that it's standard league procedure to investigate such leaks to find out how information became public.
A violation of the collectively bargained Intervention Policy could result in a fine between $10,000 and $500,000, Rapoport said.
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith also said Tuesday that he wants to investigate how information about Freeman's status became public knowledge.
In a written statement, Freeman addressed the report that he is in stage one of the league's drug program.
Bucs coach Greg Schiano said he was "absolutely not" the source of the information. The team reportedly told Freeman not to attend a team meeting on Tuesday, but Freeman was back on the field with the team on Wednesday.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello addressed the issue in an email to Around The League.
"We do not believe it is appropriate to comment, but the confidentiality provision of our drug program is critically important and a breach of that confidentiality by any party is a serious violation of our collectively bargained policy," Aiello said in a statement.
The Buccaneers currently are in their bye week. The timing is fortunate because it allows the team to spend the time necessary to address the issue. Don't be surprised if Freeman is no longer in the building next week, one way or another.