Sometimes it's nice to see real dirtbags at work to make you better appreciate the team in your back yard. Such is the case as Josh Freeman was vilified last night when a convenient 'league source' leaked information that the Buccaneers' quarterback was enrolled in stage one of the NFL's drug program.
The average fan has no clue what 'stage one' is, and that didn't matter. In fact, you could probably find coaches and front office men around the NFL who couldn't tell you what stage one is. That's the point, that was the goal -- the Buccaneers wanted to ensure the maximum amount of damage to Freeman because the telenovela that is their organization mandated it.
As a result Freeman has been forced to come forward and explain himself. That he took medically prescribed Ritalin for diagnosed ADHD and willingly entered the league's program because he changed medication from Adderall without telling the league.
Freeman's message wont penetrate deeply like the initial leaked report did, followups rarely do. The damage is done and disgusting tweets already circulated about Freeman's 'trade value' following the report. It wasn't long before the smarmiest of pundits retreated to their holes as news emerged that the Buccaneers' quarterback is suffering from a psychiatric disorder.
There's no telling who leaked the information. Perhaps it was someone at the highest level of the organization, but more likely is was some talentless, boot-licking, groveling toad looking to please his bosses by violating federal HIPAA law.
Jerry Richardson has been infuriating at times. He tends to become too involved in the organization and cares too much about public perception of him as an owner. The team was overly-cheap in 2010 only to squander the funds in 2011. Now the team is on a seemingly endless carousel of general manager and coaching changes without any tangible sign the two sides are working in concert -- all designed by the man at the top.
These are minuscule gripes compared with what's happening in Tampa Bay. I feel for the team's fans, because I don't morally know if I could support a team that conducts business the way the Buccaneers do.
This is an organization that:
- Parted ways with defensive end Michael Bennett because of business reasons, then chose to disseminate rumors about his medical condition and alleged attitude issues.
They wanted second round pick DaQuan Bowers to start. Nothing wrong with that. But after they didnt re-sign Bennett they took a steaming hot crap on him leaking stuff about his medical condition with his shoulder (sound familiar) and stuff about his supposed attitude. Mind you Bennett had busted his ass for this franchise for like 4 years.
Stephen White, via Twitter
- Tried to damage the livelihood of kicker Lawrence Tynes after he contracted a MRSA infection that almost-certainly came from the team's facilities.
- Hired a head coach with a well-known reputation around the league as disrespectful and brash, who treated other professionals with disdain.
- Banned Josh Freeman from the sidelines of Sunday's game, relegating the quarterback to a suite. Schiano called the decision mutual, but Freeman's agent refuted Schiano's version of the events. Less than 24 hrs later Freeman's medical information is leaked to ESPN.
- Reports emerge prior to the season that Schiano rigged the player's captain vote to ensure Freeman would not be named a team captain.
- When it became clear the team was not going to be able to sign Brent Grimes news leaked that it was because he wasn't a "Buccaneer Man", whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.
The Carolina Panthers may frustrate me to no end, but at least Richardson's principles prevent things like this from happening. Our team may not be perfect, but sometimes it's nice to appreciate what we have in the face of some truly despicable behavior by a division rival.
Nothing would make be happier than to see the Panthers hang 50 on the Bucs on 10/24, not because I want to see the team's fans unhappy -- but that I want to see the top of the organization burn so it can start again.