It seems like every day for the last two weeks there has been a new story that comes out about embattled quarterback Josh Freeman, as if the world couldn’t be more excited to see a franchise quarterback’s tragic fall from grace.
Except today, it wasn’t Freeman free-falling. And this gaffe makes a missed team photo and unauthorized interview seem pretty trivial.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Monday night that Freeman is in phase 1 of the NFL’s substance abuse program. He also reported that Freeman obtained a temporary-use exemption for a prescription drug that normally would be on the banned list.
This information is supposed to be kept confidential. And Freeman’s statement released shortly after the report explains why — he has ADHD and takes prescription medication for it, medication that is on the NFL’s banned substance list unless an exemption is obtained.
Here is Freeman’s full statement, originally released to FOX Sports, which explains how he was placed on the list in the first place:
“Let me be very clear. I have NEVER tested positive for any illegal drugs or related substances. Further, I have agreed to take, and have PASSED 46 NFL-regulated drug tests over the last year and a half.
Since the confidentiality of my medical status has been publicly violated, I am choosing to address this matter so that grossly erroneous assumptions about me do not persist. Like millions of Americans, I have ADHD and I have been prescribed and permitted to take medication to treat this condition for the entirety of my NFL career. Well over a year ago, I took a different medication for the same condition (Ritalin rather than Adderall), and to assure everyone that the error was a one-time mistake, I agreed to be voluntarily tested in the NFL Program.
Since that time, I have taken and passed all 46 drug tests I’ve been given, which test for every drug and banned substance imaginable. I agreed to allow such testing to be done at my workplace (team facility) because I spend all of my time there and I have nothing whatsoever to hide or be embarrassed about.
Unfortunately, it appears that some people who may have noticed the testing at my workplace have made hurtful and incorrect assumptions and chosen to disseminate inaccurate and very disturbing information. It is a shame that when times have gotten tough, people have chosen to attack the character of others, rather than supporting each other. I remain dedicated and focused to being the best quarterback I can be and to help a team win a championship.”
So there you have it. Josh Freeman has ADHD. And the source of that leak, which Freeman alleges came from inside the Buccaneers organization, could face severe punishment.
Freeman never intended for that information to be made public. After all, a quarterback’s job is predicated on quick decision-making. No player wants to carry a stigma when a new coach arrives or a prospective team inquires.
Instead he was forced to admit it due to an unnamed source eager to tarnish his image. Seems there’s been a lot of that lately.