The NFL Players Association formally has asked the league for a joint investigation into leaks related to information on Josh Freeman's status in the NFL's drug program.
ESPN reported in September, while Freeman was still a member of the Buccaneers, that the quarterback is in Stage 1 of the program. Freeman fired back with a written statement claiming he was in the program for an ADHD prescription.
Both the league and union then looked into the leaks.
According to two union sources, the NFLPA wants a joint investigation for two reasons. First, the union has no power to compel Buccaneers officials to talk, and would like -- short of interviewing management itself -- to be able to sit in on the interviews to see what questions are being asked. Second, the NFLPA conducted research last week into previous cases of confidentiality breaches and found no evidence of the league having sanctioned a club in such a circumstance, or even having vigorously pursued a case.
"We take the confidentiality provision of the policy as seriously as the union and will vigorously pursue any leads the union provides," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Sunday in a statement given to NFL Media. "However, such information should be shared confidentially with our office rather than inappropriately leaked to the media before the investigation has been concluded."
Specifically, the union wants to look into the role of Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano in the leaks. Schiano adamantly has denied playing a part in the information becoming public, and a Buccaneers spokesman said Sunday morning that the team won't address the situation again until, at least, after the team's home game against the Eagles.
According to a union source, the NFLPA has information indicating that Schiano shared confidential information about Freeman with some of Freeman's teammates.
Among the confidentiality-breach cases the union cited were the Clayton Holmes case in 1996, the Calvin Johnson/Gaines Adams/Amobi Okoye draft interviews, the Kevin Williams and Pat Williams Starcaps cases and, earlier this year, the Von Miller case.
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