Mawae says policy's confidentiality agreement cannot be compromised

Updated: June 23, 2008, 12:49 PM ET
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com

Titans center Kevin Mawae did not hide his disappointment over a recent report linking teammate Ryan Fowler to performance-enhancing drugs.

Mawae, who is the president of the NFL Players Association, said when the confidentiality element of the league's policy against players accused of using performance enhancers is broken, it's damaging for both the league and the player.

Mawae and the Titans saw Fowler's name surface in a report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen earlier this month. A letter to the Tennessee middle linebacker from the league said it had "credible information" that Fowler "purchased, used or supplied" performance-enhancing drugs, accusations Fowler ardently denied.

"His or anybody's situation in terms of the substance abuse program or the banned substances program, until there is something that's substantiated, it's wrong, it's a disservice to the players whose names are involved," Mawae said recently. "Not to speak specifically to Ryan's case, but there are rules in the collective bargaining agreement to how these situations are handled and that's the way we expect them from a union standpoint to be handled.

"It's obvious they haven't been handled that way."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is not pleased with the leaks either, indicating they come from a third party.

"We agree with Kevin," Aiello said by e-mail. "Unfortunately, information that has to be shared with individuals outside of our office is sometimes given to the news media improperly.

"I would also add that we have no interest in having information become public until it is substantiated. A premature leak does not benefit us in any way."

Mawae would not say if the issue ranked as one the PA will want to discuss with league officials, but suggested that players' rights need to rank among the NFL's priorities.

"The league is all about the image and the shield and stuff like that," he said. "I think at some point the players' rights need to be protected as well. I feel bad for [Fowler] or anybody that's in that situation. He's been drug tested and nothing's ever been found. ... I expect it's going to run its course and the right thing's going to happen."

Paul Kuharsky covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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