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Gordon’s appeal could be all-or-nothing proposition

Gordon AP

The substance-abuse policy gives full power over any disciplinary appeals to the Commissioner or his designee.  When it comes to crafting a specific punishment, however, it’s unclear how much discretion the designated hearing officer has.

For players (like Browns receiver Josh Gordon) who are in Stage III of the substance-abuse program, a player who tests positive “will be banished from the NFL for a minimum of one calendar year.”

The language is clear.  “Will” doesn’t imply discretion or the ability to impose a suspension greater than zero games and fewer than 16.

Notwithstanding the apparently clear language of the policy, some league insiders believe the hearing officer can do whatever the hearing officer wants.  We’ve asked the league whether that’s accurate.

A negotiated resolution of less than 16 games is permitted.  The question is whether, absent a settlement, the hearing officer can conclude that Gordon violated the policy based on unique facts and a stringent threshold and suspend him for something less than 365 days.

Either way, the hearing officer’s decision is final, with only limited windows for challenging the suspension through the court system.

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44 Responses to “Gordon’s appeal could be all-or-nothing proposition”
  1. dmarado says: Jul 30, 2014 2:38 PM

    If they give him a year he should sue their pants off.

  2. joeflaccoallday says: Jul 30, 2014 2:39 PM

    If Gordon wins the appeal I’m watching every Cleveland Browns game that Manziel is playing in.

  3. minnesoulja says: Jul 30, 2014 2:41 PM

    starting to feel like he gets off easy on this one.

  4. reconl63 says: Jul 30, 2014 2:44 PM

    This is the type of thing players in sub par cities do. CLE, BUF, CIN for example. I have been saying for years that a team like this or BUF will be moving to sunny Los Angeles, and now, it’s good to see my prediction coming true. The Bills will be moving to LA just as we all knew, and finally they’ll get to play for a city that actually cares about them. LA is the best city in the world because our citizens are just better and have more class.

  5. 4thquartermagic says: Jul 30, 2014 2:44 PM

    NFL PR stance swung and miss on domestic violence.

    I’m sure they’ll do the right thing here.

    If for no other reason, for the cameras.

  6. si1m says: Jul 30, 2014 2:45 PM

    its pretty easy. Don’t break the law multiple times in a row. Once is one thing. 4 times is another.

    Second-hand smoke? Lmao please, try that 6th grade nonsense again. Can’t wait to hear Browns fans try to play forum trial lawyer and start justifying his repeated foulups

  7. buds4grant says: Jul 30, 2014 2:45 PM

    “But I never exhaled.”-JG

  8. wryly1 says: Jul 30, 2014 2:46 PM

    The problem for Gordon is that while he was waiting for this appeal to be heard, he has been stopped by police twice – once for DUI and once for pot in the car. The kid needs professional help and counseling that he seeks willingly and voluntarily to get straightened out before he throws his life away, let alone his football career.

  9. nyyjetsknicks says: Jul 30, 2014 2:46 PM

    NFL: Hey Josh Gordan, here’s millions of dollars. You can make millions more if you aren’t an idiot.

    Josh Gordon: What was that? I can’t pick out the stems and seeds and listen at the same time.

  10. drfeelyouup says: Jul 30, 2014 2:50 PM

    Best receiver in the league.

  11. jetsbandwagon says: Jul 30, 2014 2:51 PM

    Ray Rice>Josh Gordon>Tom Brady

    #JetsDynasty
    #WhyNotUs
    #PatsCheat

  12. kd75 says: Jul 30, 2014 2:53 PM

    Throw the book at him. The evils of Marijuana are destroying the fabric of this country…You can’t become President if you have ever smoked a joint!

  13. tylerhutchison2005 says: Jul 30, 2014 2:55 PM

    Why would you risk a job making millions of dollars on some weed? Getting high is relaxing and therapeutic no doubt, but good God man, weed ain’t THAT good…

  14. realitycheckbaby says: Jul 30, 2014 2:55 PM

    Hey Goodell, if he knocks out his girl friend would that reduce his sentence?

  15. ragnarthemagnificent says: Jul 30, 2014 2:59 PM

    He eyes look blazed in that picture. Let him and Johnny smoke together! Who cares! Its just football

  16. cornerstone2001 says: Jul 30, 2014 3:05 PM

    He’s done for the year folks….there’s nothing to see…move along here

  17. dustinb18 says: Jul 30, 2014 3:06 PM

    COMPLETE IDIOT !

  18. godofwine330 says: Jul 30, 2014 3:08 PM

    Common sense should prevail considering how low 15ng/ml is compared to the IOC level of 150 ng/ml. Not just that, how the NFL earlier this offseason tried to manipulate the NFLPA, “Agree to our HGH testing as is with Roger Goodell as the JJE and we’ll raise the testing level to 150 ng/ml. That is what all of that talk was earlier this spring.

    Sadly, in this world, common sense does not often prevail.

    Punishers scream, “But it’s the law. We must follow the law or there’ll be anarchy. ANARCHY!!!” With the Genarlow Wilson case back in 2005, common sense said that the sentence was both unnecessary and far too harsh, but they implemented it anyway because, “It’s the law. We have to follow the law. If we don’t there’ll be anarchy. ANARCHY!!!

    Just a damned shame. Common sense says the NFL standards are too low, and I know Gordon is thinking, “Hell, if I’m gonna be punished by it I should have actually did wha they said I did.”

  19. horsepedlr says: Jul 30, 2014 3:11 PM

    if he gets off then d wash should to. dbl standard. he should get at least a full year.

  20. robert831 says: Jul 30, 2014 3:14 PM

    Hoyer to Gordon is what we all want to see! Four game suspension max for Gordon, and keep Johnny EightBall on the bench.

  21. brownsmakemecrazy says: Jul 30, 2014 3:17 PM

    According to the NFL Josh you should have knocked your girlfriend out instead of smoking weed. You would have only gotten 2 games instead of 16 games. Makes sense right? Yeah makes no sense to me either

  22. jolink653 says: Jul 30, 2014 3:18 PM

    Why would the hearing officer be lenient in this case? Gordon has gotten himself arrested twice since this hearing was announced, once for the same thing he’s being suspended for by the league. How has he shown that this is an isolated incident and given the officer any sign that he’s a changed man? Hit him with the year and let him straighten his life out before it gets worse and he winds up Donte Stallworth-ing someone

  23. brownsmakemecrazy says: Jul 30, 2014 3:23 PM

    Flawed test. Bottle B wasn’t even over limit. Nice testing procedures NFL. Also nice limit too. OLYMPIC limit is 175 and yours is 15 lol. Goodell and NFL policies are idiotic

  24. 1rockyracoon says: Jul 30, 2014 3:25 PM

    Good thing the league isn’t run the Browns organization. Gordon continues to rack up suspensions and arrests and still they don’t cut him. The Ravens aren’t much better, but at least they win.

  25. htagsports says: Jul 30, 2014 3:25 PM

    Let’s be real about this, if he isn’t suspended now, he most likely will be in the future. Wouldn’t this be the year to just sit it out? The Browns with be doing the QB Hokie-Pokie unless Hoyer turns in a full season like the start of last year. When all is said and done, you have to question the terms to which he is being suspended, but the fact that he ran into trouble isn’t a surprise to anyone.

  26. valentino8100 says: Jul 30, 2014 3:28 PM

    See you next year flash. Stop the insanity, play ball, and make your millions.

  27. flannlv says: Jul 30, 2014 3:29 PM

    I don’t understand a policy that punishes people for using an ostensibly benign substance as opposed to powerful narcotics. If Goodell is so hellbent on being judge, jury and executioner there’s little wonder why the NFLPA has refused to implement the PED testing which would allow Goodell to be the sole arbiter of a false positive.

  28. jbloggs13 says: Jul 30, 2014 3:30 PM

    Hopefully De Smith or any of the other buffoons from the NFLPA aren’t in the hearing room. Gordon will be banished to Siberia and forced to work in the salt mines.

    Has De Smith or NFLPA ever prevailed against the “Great Goodell.” Nope.

    On the other hand, De had the sense not to say anything about Ray Rice. It would have taken a week for George Atallah to pry De’s foot of his mouth.

  29. thesteelfox says: Jul 30, 2014 3:35 PM

    Where is the outcry for Justin Blackmon’s suspension?

  30. mrphelps01 says: Jul 30, 2014 3:39 PM

    The guy is an idiot for sure, but suspending him an entire year because he smokes grass is simply absurd. The NFL and NFLPA need to address this that so the punishment fits the “crime.”

  31. radioactivechimp says: Jul 30, 2014 3:43 PM

    reconl63-

    If you think that the city of Buffalo does not care about the Bills, then you have clearly never been to Buffalo.

  32. jerruhjones says: Jul 30, 2014 3:52 PM

    If Josh gets a year, Ray-Ray Rice should get 2 years.

  33. meditatingamigo says: Jul 30, 2014 4:00 PM

    I don’t think players should be suspended for pot, especially since it’s legal in two of the states with NFL teams.

    One the other hand, a player in Stage III testing who has ANY trace of a banned substance, is a moron.

  34. Rename the Lombardi Trophy to the Noll Trophy. The Steelers created the NFL. No city is more decorated, in all of sports, than the City of Champions. Pittsburgh WAS built in a day. Pittsburgh is God's city and the Steelers are God's team says: Jul 30, 2014 4:02 PM

    Notice how the Steelers aren’t faced with such problems?

  35. godofwine330 says: Jul 30, 2014 4:05 PM

    @ thesteelfox “Where is the outcry for Justin Blackmon’s suspension?”

    There is a difference in someone who smokes and one that doesn’t. Gordon appears, if the low 16 & 13.6 tests show, to not be smoking, but being in the presence of smoke, whereas Blackmon wasn’t anywhere close to the limit when he popped.

    There will be more outrage for a guy who failed the test by .01 than for the guy who scored a zero. One tried, and one didn’t.

  36. schmokes says: Jul 30, 2014 4:14 PM

    Let’s all just keep blaming Goodell for this, even though the drug policies, including the who sample A&B thing, was clearly spelled out in the agreement signed by the players.

  37. nomar8477 says: Jul 30, 2014 4:18 PM

    reconl63 says:Jul 30, 2014 2:44 PM

    This is the type of thing players in sub par cities do. CLE, BUF, CIN for example. I have been saying for years that a team like this or BUF will be moving to sunny Los Angeles, and now, it’s good to see my prediction coming true. The Bills will be moving to LA just as we all knew, and finally they’ll get to play for a city that actually cares about them. LA is the best city in the world because our citizens are just better and have more class.

    LA is all gangs and drugs. It is NOT the best city..

  38. guiness17 says: Jul 30, 2014 4:20 PM

    I think the other 2 arrests will have a pretty good affect on this hearing. While it might seem they are a separate issue, they are asking the officer to make a judgment call, and I think human nature will prevent him from ignoring them.

  39. nickinneohio says: Jul 30, 2014 4:55 PM

    It is only assumed he is in stage III. The NFL is very hush hush about this. Noone has ever come out and said “JG is in stage III” Did he enter the league in stage I? Nobody really knows.

  40. kingkornkahn says: Jul 30, 2014 4:58 PM

    I hate the knee-jerk, Dr.Phil “he just needs help” nonsense that I am hearing from a lot of people. He passed 70 drug tests in a row and the one he flunked, he passed the control test. Maybe he had a hit of a joint? What a monster! He also blew a .09 at 3am. How many reckless alcoholics can limit themselves to just a few beers in the course of an evening?

    I know it is hard to process, but he is just that dumb.

  41. bhlobos says: Jul 30, 2014 5:05 PM

    I’m curious about this A/B sample issue. In the NFL, seems like it’s a “fail one sample, you’re done” kind of thing. What’s the point of the B sample then? Seems to me that if one sample is positive, whether it’s close or not, that the B sample is then tested to see if there’s a discrepancy. If there is, then seems like there should be another sample taken by the player. Am I thinking too logically about this or am I missing something?

  42. coachbeck says: Jul 30, 2014 5:09 PM

    No way they let him off with any less. They looked bad in the ray rice deal.

    They are going to run drug abuse hard. Plus don’t forget his DUI.

    The fact anyone from Cleveland is counting on this guy is amazing. You can not count on guys who can’t even manage their own lives.

  43. riekki says: Jul 30, 2014 8:31 PM

    so this kid’s an idiot for having a minute amount of marijuana in his system…but you’re fine with the team doctor shooting him up with every narcotic known to man…to “keep him on the field”…well then you’re right…someone is an idiot

  44. pfu2 says: Aug 1, 2014 3:21 PM

    Free Josh Gordon!

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