NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith was at One Buccaneer Place Tuesday speaking to players on his scheduled trip to the facility. After a meeting with the players that lasted a little over an hour, he took the time to discuss some things that the union has done in relation to the Buccaneers in the media workroom.
Smith started out by releasing a statement regarding Lawrence Tynes and the MRSA situation.
“Earlier this morning we filed a grievance on behalf of Lawrence Tynes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in connection with what we believe are significant concerns about the manner in which that player and perhaps other player’s safety was handled by the team,” Smith said. “It’s obviously the beginning of the grievance process and we will look forward to working with the league to figure out what the facts are and most importantly take steps to make sure that they and every team are protecting our players.”
Smith went on to address the issue now surrounding Josh Freeman and the organization in regards to his privacy after the information was leaked that the Buccaneers’ quarterback was in the league’s substance abuse program.
“I’m not going to have any sort of comment about any player in particular but I will say this: We have a collective bargaining agreement that mandates and protects confidentiality and privacy,” Smith said. “If we believe that any member of team management or anyone from the league has deliberately taken steps to thwart that privacy and to breach that confidentiality, this union will take every step and file every grievance and pursue any law to rectify that. We believe that it’s important to maintain that confidentiality. I appreciate the manner in which Josh has handled this personally because he is a good young man.
“But this is issue is a bigger issue about what’s right with respect to the relationship between players and management. And when those issues come to bear, this is a union that will stand up for its players.”
Smith was asked if he felt there was any evidence tying the Buccaneers to the information leaked.
“I think that we are sufficiently concerned about what we’ve heard to begin an investigation,” Smith said. “I believe that the league has the same interest that we have in trying to determine what happened. I look forward to working with Roger (Goodell) and people from the league in order to conduct that investigation. But on behalf of our players it’s also important for all of our players and fans to know that our system works if people abide by the rules. And if we have a concern that the rules have been intentionally broken, no one is going to be exempt from the consequences.”