Aug 8, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano reviews the play call during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Raymond James Stadium. Baltimore defeated Tampa Bay 44-16. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

NFLPA Gunning For Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano

Drama is drama, and karma is karma. Drama has surrounded the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their ex-quarterback Josh Freeman for some time now. Karma has finally stepped into the picture with the breaking news that the NFL Players Association has asked the NFL to participate in a “joint investigation that would allow union officials to question the man they believe is behind a breach of quarterback Josh Freeman’s confidential information”.

Plain and simple? Josh Freeman was the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and now he’s not. Before Josh was kicked to the curb there was a lot of “”He said, she said” going on between the Buc’s head coach Greg Schiano and Josh Freeman, but mainly with Schiano and the sports news media. It started out low-key, then got out of hand.

At some point allegations were made by an “anonymous source” who passed information to the news media about what is considered private medical information about Josh Freeman. Now the NFLPA wants a joint investigation with the NFL. Why? It seems that the NFLPA doesn’t trust the NFL to follow through with punishment.

“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.”

The controversy has to do with media leaks about “Freeman’s status in the league’s substance-abuse program”. After the hamster got out of the cage Freeman confirmed he was in stage one of the substance-abuse program, but only after after ESPN blabbed the story, and cited “unnamed league and player sources”.

Now? Freeman went public saying “he has NEVER tested positive for any illegal drugs”… Bear in mind that ADHD medication is legal with a doctor’s prescription. Josh backed it up by volunteering to submit to additional testing “after a positive result triggered by switching his ADHD medication without notifying the league.”

Schiano? After Freeman made his statement Schiano said he was “absolutely not” the source of the information. A simple denial may not be enough however to keep both the NFL and Schiano out of hot water.

  • First, the NFLPA claims to have direct knowledge of how the leak occurred, “when Schiano discussed Freeman’s status in the league’s substance-abuse program with other Buccaneers players”. Bear in mind that there has been some player “discord” over the way the affair was handled. If the NFLPA has a statement from a witness they have a case.
  • Second, leaks of this type are a violation of federal law, namely the HIPAA Law. Failure to comply with HIPAA can result in civil and criminal penalties (42 USC § 1320d-5).

    Even the NFL isn’t off the hook on this one:

    “The HIPAA Privacy regulations require health care providers and organizations, as well as their business associates, develop and follow procedures that ensure the confidentiality and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared. This applies to all forms of PHI, including paper, oral, and electronic, etc.” (emphasis mine)

    Here’s what we pulled up on maximum penalties: When HIPAA violation is due to willful neglect and is not corrected, $50,000 per violation, with an annual maximum of $1.5 million.
    Stay tuned peeps; this will get interesting.

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    Tags: Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano Josh Freeman NFL Private Medical Information Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    • Alvin

      Bull crap Commissioner fined the Saint for Bounty and this Crack Head gets nothing

    • ehtampa

      Ask your local HR specialist if the medical condition in question is the ADHD rather than his involvement in the league’s drug testing program which may be an NFL privacy issue by likely not covered by HIIPA since drug testing for illegal drugs is not a medical condition.
      Freeman exposed his ADHD himself as well by making the comments of taking the other medication, which he claimed was a one time accident, without following NFL protocols.
      Freeman chose to have his weekly tests occur at the team’s facility where a hundred or so individuals could know what was occurring rather than choosing a private offsite facility. NFL drug testers are not team employees so they would be readily identified as guests to the facility, and if other players may also be in the program, and some likely were last year after suspensions for Adderall use occurred, the identity of the testers are likely known by almost all within the facility.
      The Player’s Union will always support a player and while Schiano has shown himself to be an inferior coach and lackluster leader, the exposure of Freeman’s actual medical condition appears to have been exposed by the player himself.