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Gordon’s appeal is indeed all or nothing

Cleveland Browns v St. Louis Rams 8-8-2013 Getty Images

Despite a belief in some league circles that the person designated to handle the appeal of Browns receiver Josh Gordon’s one-year suspension can split the proverbial baby by imposing a suspension somewhere between zero and 16 games, the NFL characterizes the substance-abuse policy in a way that makes clear the absence of discretion.

“The disciplinary penalties were negotiated by the NFLPA and NFL more than 20 years ago and there has never been a proposal to change them,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tells PFT via email.  “When they were first established, the union expressed the strong view that they needed to be stated and mandatory to ensure that all players be treated the same regardless of position, experience, level of ability, or competitive considerations.  On appeal, the hearing officer’s responsibility is to determine whether the violation was established and, if so, he is bound by the agreed-upon sanctions.”

For players in Stage III of the program, a positive test automatically triggers a one-year suspension.

For Gordon, then, only two options exist:  full-year suspension or no suspension at all.

If the terms of the policy are applied as written, Gordon could indeed be facing a one-year suspension, no matter how unfair or heavy-handed or otherwise wrong.  Or maybe the hearing officer will, consciously or otherwise, broaden the lens and consider the reaction to a one-year suspension for Gordon versus a mere two-game suspension for Ray Rice and his far more heinous conduct.

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50 Responses to “Gordon’s appeal is indeed all or nothing”
  1. r8dernation says: Jul 30, 2014 5:34 PM

    It’s clear now, the NFL penalizes you more for hurting ones self, rather than hurting someone else. A little backwards if you ask me.

  2. greenbaydean says: Jul 30, 2014 5:36 PM

    A Zebra can’t change his strips. If he gets off this one, he’ll flunk the one that or the one after that….

  3. ajgreenhof says: Jul 30, 2014 5:38 PM

    I’m torn.

    Part of me hates the fact that Gordon has to be punished this severely over something like pot but on the other he plays for the Browns and I love watching them continue to fall flat on their face in new and interesting ways.

  4. gabrosin says: Jul 30, 2014 5:41 PM

    There’s zero reason to compare Josh Gordon’s suspension to Ray Rice’s suspension.

    Ray Rice made a tragic mistake, and was punished for it. The fact that it was his first offense factored heavily into the decision.

    Josh Gordon smoked weed often enough to get busted at least three times so far, not to mention all the times he hasn’t been caught for it. He’s only facing a year suspension because after the first two strikes he kept going back and making the same mistake. That’s the difference.

    The NFL’s weed policy is moronic, and NFL players (and everyone else) should be free to smoke as much weed as they want without fear of suspension. How about we talk about that, rather than comparing two completely different situations?

  5. jfkelly1 says: Jul 30, 2014 5:42 PM

    Too much history to give any benefit or consideration. Uphold the year!

  6. valentino8100 says: Jul 30, 2014 5:42 PM

    Is it really so difficult to follow the rules when you stand to lose or gain a few million here and there?

  7. labrownjames says: Jul 30, 2014 5:43 PM

    And what is Cincinnati doing…..?

  8. passthepigskin says: Jul 30, 2014 5:48 PM

    How dumb is the guy he knows smoking pot or not taking your test costs you a years salary and you still do it anyways.

    I can’t feel sorry for him for that reason.

  9. htagsports says: Jul 30, 2014 5:49 PM

    Not saying that all players who are suspended or otherwise removed from a college team and forced to enter the Supplimental Draft are bad people…but…come on…

  10. stillers213 says: Jul 30, 2014 5:50 PM

    I vote nothing. I want to see the kid play, even against the Steelers. He hasn’t done anything to anyone else so let it ride and let us all see this kid do his thing on Sundays. One test was below the limit and the other just above – not good enough for me to keep him out of the game!!!

  11. peefrimgar says: Jul 30, 2014 5:55 PM

    So…the NFL plans to take away the only source of stability in his life for a year and expects him to get it together…sound logic there.

  12. realityonetwo says: Jul 30, 2014 5:56 PM

    All.

  13. giantben says: Jul 30, 2014 6:01 PM

    Let’s not forget Gordon got a DUI, which isn’t an excusable crime just because no one got hurt.

  14. thefiesty1 says: Jul 30, 2014 6:03 PM

    No appeal, take your “medicine”. See you next season.

  15. rickgjags says: Jul 30, 2014 6:05 PM

    I just wish we’d stop pretending that weed is somehow this crazy drug that makes us deranged or hyped out of our minds. Seriously, it’s not like it makes you go all “Romanowski” or anything.

  16. pftstory says: Jul 30, 2014 6:06 PM

    I don’t understand the logic of….
    Rice’s punishment was not severe enough.
    So Gordon’s should be less.

    It was the same with Burress and Stallworth. People wanted a lesser sentence for Burress because they felt Stallworth was treated to kindly.

    If Rice and Stallworth were treated too lightly, treating Gordon and Buress lighter only compounds the problem. It does not fix the light sentences the first two received.

    Give Gordon the year and continue to complain Rice got off easy. Don’t ask to go soft on both. As the guy said above. The two events are not related.

  17. dbfan4ever says: Jul 30, 2014 6:07 PM

    Gordon better tread lightly he is only one strike away from an indefinite ban from the NFL!

  18. brownsmakemecrazy says: Jul 30, 2014 6:29 PM

    To say the marijuana policy of the NFL is moronic is self-explantory. The fact that someone knocks out their fiance and gets 2 games, and someone who smokes weed is suspended for 1 year, whether he is a repeat offender or not, is flat out asinine. The punishment doesn’t come close to equaling the crime.

    No I’m not a pot smoker, never used a drug in my life, so I’m not sticking up for a fellow pot smoker. The policy is ridiculous. Why it’s even in the CBA and tested for is silly.

    Hope common sense prevails, however, dumb decisions that defy logic occur everyday in our country.

  19. dadsource says: Jul 30, 2014 6:32 PM

    Gordon may be a stooge, but ban him for one slightly positive test after Ray Ray this week? Two black eyes to Roger Goodell!

  20. snoqualmkanem says: Jul 30, 2014 6:40 PM

    The two events (Rice and Gordon’s) definitely not related.

    Rice got off way easy for what he did.

    By not providing a proper punishment, the NFL is condoning violence against women.

    Hall of Shame for the NFL!

  21. djaehne says: Jul 30, 2014 6:43 PM

    Gordon deserves the one year suspension. Hes on strike three. Ray Rice, while dispeakable as he is for his actions, he’s only been caught once.

  22. fanofbrowns17 says: Jul 30, 2014 6:43 PM

    Common sense needed. Easy as that.

  23. MikeisWise says: Jul 30, 2014 7:09 PM

    Sorry. But his character and decision making is obviously idiotic. Knowing he’d have to deal with this appeal, he drank and got behind the wheel. You don’t reward him for that by letting him roam free because people are butthurt over Ray Rice’s wife allowing his punishment to go lightly. This is a repeat offender. Suspend him. If Manziel wasn’t drafted there this wouldn’t even be up for discussion

  24. MikeisWise says: Jul 30, 2014 7:12 PM

    By the way, the NFL is punishing Rice with a few hundred thousand dollars. Way more than the courts and judicial system decided to punish him. How about you go get mad at them? There’s a CBA that relegates stuff like marijuana use. If it’s such a big deal, the players should have fought for it during the lockout. They didn’t. So they have to live by the rules they established. Get over it.

  25. excessivedrinking says: Jul 30, 2014 7:36 PM

    How can anyone in their right mind not think that the penalty was just? One year for a third offense is more than fair. Even the union slackey said so, and we all know he is paid to not look at things objectively.

  26. yepbye2 says: Jul 30, 2014 7:40 PM

    Another player with the same exact sample that Gordon produced could have passed the drug test. That is a flaw in the testing system and something that his attorney will argue is unfair and not equal. Notice what the NFL rep said today. That equal treatment in the drug testing for all players no matter their importance is important. The A and B sample and how it applies to this situation is not equal. So I think Gordon has a case and the NFL can drop it while saving face.

    The NFL doesn’t care as much about DUIs as they don’t count the same as a failed test. Which is a stupid philosophy IMHO.

  27. papacrick says: Jul 30, 2014 7:46 PM

    It’s a shame that the starting QB will be set up to fail with Gordon on the sidelines. More of a reason to start Hoyer IMO. As a Lions fan, this is the equivalent of what Stafford looks like when CJ is not playing. I’d love to see Manziel in a position to succeed and this won’t be pretty if Austin and Burrelson are his top targets. Let Hoyer fall on his face till Gordon gets back

  28. jacunn2000 says: Jul 30, 2014 7:47 PM

    I don’t care if Gordon smokes weed. I do not smoke it, because it is not legal where I live. I do care if a man hits a woman in the face and knocks her out cold. Anyone who thinks differently is a moron.

  29. dmarado says: Jul 30, 2014 8:05 PM

    If he gets a year he should not let it go, get the NY Times behind him w/their latest series on weed smoking. Make the NFL look like the faux-concerned for players’ well-being sham of an organization it is. The only thing they have on him is the DUI, four games max. Just have his lawyer walk in the hearing going RAYRICERAYRICERAYRICERAYRICE.

  30. bigredgoog says: Jul 30, 2014 8:22 PM

    I don’t understand how the finding is within the margin of error. As I understand it, one urine sample is given and then divided into two. In this case the testing showed the A sample to be 16, one unit of measure over the threshold and the B sample showed 14, one unit under. The difference between the two is 2 units of measure from exactly the same sample. The threshold is 15 but the measuring exactness seems to be at least + or – 2 units.

    I’d argue that was proof the testing is not accurate enough and that no punishment should accrue unless you hit the number 17.

  31. texansdan says: Jul 30, 2014 8:56 PM

    While I may not agree with the policy, you know what? The policy is clear and every NFL player knows exactly what it is. He’s the one who got to stage III, he knew what that meant, and he had the positive test. Just because a year’s suspension is absurd for weed doesn’t mean that the punishment, that was clearly spelled out and agreed on, shouldn’t be given out. If you don’t like the rules, don’t play in the NFL. It’s a privilege, not a right, and if more players started acting like it we wouldn’t have issues like this.

  32. monetdali says: Jul 30, 2014 9:12 PM

    The biggest question is whether or not I should roll the dice and go with him as my keeper in our fantasy football league.

  33. golions1 says: Jul 30, 2014 9:23 PM

    Since when is it up to the NFL to solve political and societal problems? I just want to see the best players go at it on Sunday. If a guy isn’t in jail, he should be able to play.

  34. unbiasedravenfan says: Jul 30, 2014 10:02 PM

    Rice should have been suspended half the season BARE MINIMUM. Gordon should maybe pay a very small fine for the DWI and that’s it. And I love the Ravens with all my heart but I don’t wanna see this young man who doesn’t appear to be a selfish whiny player potentially ruin his career over a stupid rule.

  35. eepobee says: Jul 30, 2014 10:11 PM

    what the league should be considering is how dumb their policy is, not how severe a violation it is compared to ray rice’s completely different case. and since we don’t really have any evidence to judge rice’s punishment either light or heavy, it’s totally irrelevant.

    the case against gordon – if the facts are as they’ve been presented – seems to very thin even without factoring in the ridiculous thresholds the NFL has set up. if there’ any fairness to this hearing, he’ll be playing football week 1.

  36. billsfan1 says: Jul 30, 2014 10:16 PM

    Regardless of how we view the law( I don’t smoke it, nor do I condemn those that do) but it is still a violation of the law. Want to change it? Hit up the politicians not the NFL

  37. ytownjoe says: Jul 30, 2014 10:20 PM

    No suspension at all.

  38. otissistrunk says: Jul 30, 2014 10:21 PM

    The players union agreed to the policy,serve the sentence imposed.It’s easy to say ,”Let these guys smoke as much as they want” but as much as the NFL charges a person to watch a game I want these guys at the top of their games every game instead of giving a half-ass effort because he smoked a joint right before the game.If you don’t think it would happen you’re very naive.

  39. jgintx says: Jul 30, 2014 10:23 PM

    It really wouldn’t matter if he is given another chance because he’s already blown 3 chances. What makes anyone think he won’t do it again?

    Amusing that they beat their chest about how fair they want it all to be … but none of them would give a damn if he was on the third string or the taxi squad … he would be gone in a heartbeat and forgotten.

    The had it all spelled out and HE CHOSE to break the rules, even after being caught twice! Any other employer would have cut him loose on the second time.

  40. radar8 says: Jul 30, 2014 10:25 PM

    Gordon is simply trying to get off on a technicality. Just like Sherman, who took PEDs, Gordon did the crime but is trying to weasel out.

    He broke the rules and it doesn’t matter if it was sample A or B. Both of those cups had far more than wold be in his urine from second-hand smoke.

  41. pjgrannan says: Jul 30, 2014 11:04 PM

    This cannot be correct. See prior cases where the results have been less than the theoretical mandatory, including, Josh Gordon himself last year. Thus, there clearly is some discretion.

  42. cags777 says: Jul 30, 2014 11:34 PM

    The appeals officer should send a message to the NFL and NFLPA for having such a misguided policy about drug use, domestic violence, and other infractions. Fine Gordon to the point where he’s basically playing for free for half the season. But let him play and earn his worth in the league.

  43. ducksk says: Jul 31, 2014 12:00 AM

    I believe Gordon is both stupid and stoned. Ba bye. Go fire up for a year or figure out if you want the $ and the big show, or a fat blunt with bros and ho’s. Idiot.

  44. mattyheisman says: Jul 31, 2014 12:40 AM

    I agree that Gordon’s suspension is pretty harsh for smoking weed but he should get extra games for being a dummy. Smoking reefer is pretty lame to give a year suspension over but the rules are the rules

  45. troy43mvp says: Jul 31, 2014 6:56 AM

    I see how people look at marijuana has changed in the past 5 years drastically. Although still illegal from a Federal standpoint, the NFL needs to go back to the table and adjust the punishment accordingly.

  46. kaspauf says: Jul 31, 2014 8:00 AM

    The suspension should stand since he is dumb enough to claim ‘second-hand smoke’

    He wasn’t smoking pot he was just around a bunch of people who were after already being caught 2 separate times by the NFL ( via drug test ) and to top it all off a DUI/DWI charge…. I thought there was a league policy that these guys can either have someone pick them up whenever to stay out of trouble like this or worse case scenario call a cab, you do make more money than the average person who still can afford one from time to time after a night out partying.

  47. pfu2 says: Jul 31, 2014 8:13 AM

    Let the man play football, those of you who want him suspended are just in fear of facing him twice a year! Especially all the Steeler fans after he put 200+ yards on you. Free Josh Gordon, everyone knows one year for this is unjust!

  48. pittsburghsteelerz says: Jul 31, 2014 8:56 AM

    The NFL needs to do the right thing…

    (1) The suspension should be reduced to 4 games in exchange for dropping the appeal. Because…

    (2) They need to stop banning people for smoking a joint – especially considering the alcohol related incidents occurring around the league on a regular basis. A positive marijuana test should invoke a punishment similar to DUI. Personal conduct, not performance enhancing drugs.

  49. excessivedrinking says: Jul 31, 2014 8:38 PM

    All the Brownies fans backing Gordon is both predictable and pitiful. He is guilty of breaking the rules, but because Cleveland has sucked forever, like poor misguided Josh, Browns fans think they got hosed. Pathetic.

  50. tomarvizquel says: Aug 1, 2014 1:21 PM

    If it’s true that Gordon passed 70 (well, 70.5 since his B sample was under) drug tests since last season and he barely tested over on his A sample, and was under on his B sample, do you really think he is a drug addict? His DUI, while not a good look on his part, was a .09, which I am willing to be the majority of people in here have driven at that limit because they thought they were fine to drive. Does he need to make better choices, yes. Is suspending him for a year with no contact with the Browns going to help him…no.

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