The NFL Players' Association has no intention of supporting the Redskins request for a joint medical inquiry into the treatment of Trent Williams.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith made clear that his organization will support Williams, who asked that the union not go forward with the Redskins request to review medical records. Smith went one step further and pointed out that the NFLPA would protect Williams from any leaked or unsourced reports coming out about Williams' situation.
"We certainly will abide by a player’s decision either to go forward or not go forward with those things but apart from whatever a player may want, if we fear or believe that doctors are not living up to their ethical standards or if there is a release of a patient’s medical records, you know that’s a situation where we might weigh-in regardless of what the player’s wishes are and we’re gonna stand by Trent, we stand by every player that we represent, we never shy away from a fight if we have to have it,” Smith said.
His comments came via The Junkies on 106.7 the Fan on Monday morning. Smith did not just double down on his stance about leaked reports, he tripled down.
"The leaks about his medical condition, the disinformation that’s out there, it’s not fair to him, it should stop immediately and if it doesn’t, we’ll figure out what steps we need to take," Smith said.
Williams finally spoke last week after a lengthy holdout, and when he opened up, he let a lot out.
The seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle explained that he felt wronged by the Redskins medical staff and that a misdiagnosis eventually landed him in surgery to remove a life-threatening cancerous tumor.
After Williams’ comments, the team released a statement asking the NFL and the NFL PLayer’s Association to lead a joint medical review of Williams’ situation. The Redskins statement concluded with this line, “We look forward to the joint committee’s results,” a fairly obvious way of stating the team expected the medical review to look kindly to the organization.
In the days after Williams' comments and the team's statement, reports came out poking holes in some of Williams' account of events.
Smith won't have it.
"The information that there was going to be a joint investigation by the league and the NFLPA," he said. "I don’t know who from the NFL Network thought that they could speak on behalf of the NFLPA but it didn’t come from me, so I don’t know where that information came from."
The union chief went on to explain that Williams reported to the Redskins in hopes of moving past the medical situation that caused so much angst for the tackle and his family.
"If a player decides that he wants to move on and put stuff behind him we understand the situation and in many cases, abide by the player’s wishes, my only point is I don’t like a scenario where we believe, where we see private medical information being leaked into the media we don’t like disinformation about a player’s healthcare or any issue about a player’s healthcare being discussed by some other party," he said.
It's also worth pointing out two more things: There are federal laws in place to protect patients' medical privacy. The Redskins must abide by that, obviously.
Williams also spoke about wanting more guaranteed money in his current contract as a reason for his hold out. The medical scare obviously played a major role in Williams missing the 2019 season to date, but remember that money has played a role in this drama too.
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