Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers are acting like bitter exes

Streeter Lecka

The breakup metaphor may be a cliche, but it's ever so apt in the case of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Josh Freeman.

Breakups are never pretty, but some are uglier than others. Some end with shouting matches, ruined furniture and arguments that split apart groups of friends. That's the kind of breakup the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going through with Josh Freeman, and neither party is acting particularly mature.

While one party is requesting trades or their release, and holding unauthorized national interviews, the other is busy banning him from the sidelines, leaking stories about him missing meetings and then probably lying about it. Unlike a normal breakup, leaking all that stuff actively hurts the Bucs, too, by decreasing Freeman's trade value and making it more difficult to move on.

It's like the Bucs broke up with someone who was sharing their lease, and then went around to tell every landlord in town how their ex is impossible to live with. Maybe your ex is being completely unreasonable, but that doesn't mean you have to act that way, too.

When Tony Dungy benched Trent Dilfer for Eric Zeier, it was never this messy. When Dilfer returned a week later and then was lost for the season with a collarbone injury himself, it still wasn't nearly this messy. This mess is just embarrassing -- the leaks, the banning from the sidelines, the going on national television to complain. Worse yet, a large part of it was avoidable.

You can't control what your bitter, dumped ex is going to do. But you can control what you can do in return: act classy, don't be vindictive, and try to be graceful. Start acting that way, Bucs.

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