Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) sets to throw during the second half of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

DeMaurice Smith of NFLPA Comments on MRSA Situation and Josh Freeman Breach, Has Concerns About Safety and Privacy of Bucs Workplace

DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, spoke with 620 WDAE’s Tom Krasniqi live on the radio on Sunday morning, and had some new information and insight into the situation in Tampa. He had comments about both the MRSA outbreak and the leaked medical information affecting Josh Freeman.

Here are some of the highlights.

MRSA

Smith said he was not concerned with the findings of where the strains of MRSA came from. His concern was the level of medical care provided to each player who was infected. He strongly implied, but did not state directly, that there are continued concerns about the way that Lawrence Tynes was treated by the team. You can read more about the NFLPA’s stance on the topic by reading here.

He also said that he’s happy with the success of the joint investigation with the NFL into the MRSA situation. He felt the team and league cooperated very well, and it led to them finding the information they needed to find. He did express continued concerns with how the team is handling the already infected players, and did mention that punishment could be in order.

Overall, he felt like the facility was safe enough to hold a football game this weekend, but there are still concerns heading forward.

Josh Freeman

Sep 22, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) reacts during the fourth quarter of a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Buccaneers 23-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The topic then changed to Josh Freeman, and that’s where some new information came to light.

DeMaurice Smith did say that he hoped the NFL would agree to a joint investigation into the Josh Freeman  medical information leak, because of how successful the joint effort into finding out more about MRSA was. He said that they have information they would gladly provide to the NFL in a joint investigation.

And it’s that information he would provide to the NFL which is the most interesting. Smith is a former prosecutor who is in the midst of an investigation, so he was unwilling to give details or make accusations. But he was quoted as saying if the NFL would cooperate in this investigation that a resolution would be reached “expeditiously.”

That means he has solid evidence, and from the standpoint of the NFLPA there is reason to believe they know where the leak came from. He also said that the NFL acted upon hearsay information in the Bountygate situation, and that he felt the information he had about the breach of Josh Freeman’s confidentiality was at the very least on the same level of the evidence used in the Bountygate scenario.

It should be said that his job is to represent the players, so there is that element of bias. But if Smith gets his way and the NFL cooperates in the investigation, he’s confident that a resolution could be reached very quickly.

Smith did say that he believes that teams must show that they respect privacy and provide health care that players need, and that the union will work with players to make sure they know which teams respect their health and privacy the most. In other words, if the Buccaneers aren’t punished, free agent players are going to question the treatment they would receive in Tampa Bay.

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