Skip to content

If Gordon suspension sticks, the case was lost at bargaining table not in court

Gordon AP

Friday’s marathon appeal hearing regarding the Josh Gordon suspension will continue on Monday.  Hearing officer Harold Henderson, a former employee of the league office designated by Commissioner Roger Goodell to resolve the issue, is required to issue a ruling within a reasonable time after the hearing ends.

There’s no middle ground; under the substance-abuse policy, a positive test occurring for a player in Stage III of the program results in a mandatory one-year suspension.

But if Gordon ends up being suspended for a full year, the blame won’t fall on lawyer Maurice Suh for anything he did or didn’t do during the course of the hearing.  Gordon’s fate already was sealed at the bargaining table between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.

Every provision, aspect, and wrinkle of the substance-abuse policy flows from negotiations between the league and the union.  A violation for a player in Stage III triggers a one-year suspension because the NFLPA agreed to that sanction.  The limit for marijuana metabolites is 15 ng/ml (an order of magnitude lower than the WADA limit of 150) because the NFLPA agreed to that amount.  The inherently unfair “A” bottle/”B” bottle procedure, which allows the “B” bottle to confirm a positive test without actually being positive itself, exists due to the outcome of arm’s-length negotiations between management and labor.

Changes that may have helped Gordon’s cause remain caught up in the impasse that exists regarding HGH testing.  Without a deal on HGH testing, no adjustments have been made to the 2010 version of the substance-abuse policy, nearly three years to the day since the latest labor deal was signed.  If the league and the union had hammered out a deal on HGH testing, Gordon may not be facing a one-year suspension.

If Henderson decides not to suspend Gordon, it ultimately will happen because Henderson has decided (or was told) to give Gordon a pass.  And that could happen because the NFL wants the ongoing criticism arising from the two-game Ray Rice suspension to die.  It won’t die if/when a guy who may be addicted to a non-performance-enhancing substance now legal in two of 22 states in which the NFL does business gets thrown out of the NFL for eight times the magnitude of the punishment for a guy who intentionally (not mistakenly) punched a woman in the head, knocking her out.

Two wrongs ordinarily don’t make a right.  In this case, choosing to go easy on Gordon despite the plain terms of the substance-abuse policy could go a long way toward getting people to quit complaining so loudly about the decision to go easy on Rice.  While an incorrect application of the policy, it would be the right thing to do as to Gordon.

Permalink 54 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Cleveland Browns, Home, Rumor Mill
54 Responses to “If Gordon suspension sticks, the case was lost at bargaining table not in court”
  1. djaehne says: Aug 2, 2014 6:04 PM

    three strikes and Gordon’s out.

  2. godofwine330 says: Aug 2, 2014 6:06 PM

    I hope Gordon isn’t suspended, not because I am a Browns fan, not because I believe that marijuana should be legalized, but because of the disparity between the NFL’s low 15ng/ml limit and the IOC’s 150ng/ml limit. It could be said that the NFL wants to catch 2nd hand smokers which he could have gotten just by going to a rap or rock concert.

    I don’t smoke, but have been around smokers and compared to the smell of cigarettes, which to me is disgusting, marijuana burning is much more tolerable.

    Per USA Today article “In 1998, Ross Rebagliati won snowboarding’s first Olympic gold medal at the 1998 Winter Games — and then nearly lost that medal after he tested positive for marijuana. At the Nagano Games, Rebagliati recorded a level of 17.8 ng/ml, and argued the test resulted from second-hand smoke, which he still says.”

    If Gordon was 200ng/ml or 2000 I would be calling him a turd, but this is plausible regardless of how much Warren Sapp laughs at the possibility. The NFL’s 15ng/ml is like a state having a .02 BAC limit with alcohol. Some things should be seen past the letter of the law and be handled appropriately.

  3. bpjensen says: Aug 2, 2014 6:07 PM

    It is nice to think that Gordon would be saved if the NFLPA gave in on HGH testing. However, maybe the NFLPA is concerned that many more players would be suspended under HGH testing than marijuana.

  4. jxt2521 says: Aug 2, 2014 6:07 PM

    Stop acting like Gordan didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not like his B cup registered a zero. His A cup was over and his B cup was practically over. To get near 15 he was doing something he shouldn’t have considering his situation.

  5. stew48 says: Aug 2, 2014 6:08 PM

    Is weed his only offense? Sounds that way in the article.

  6. gayforbrady says: Aug 2, 2014 6:10 PM

    Pain pills will kill you trying to take away your pain and enable you to sleep at night, take all you want perfectly legal.

    Smoke a little weed which does the same thing only will not kill you. Lose your job.

  7. oldcracker says: Aug 2, 2014 6:16 PM

    As long as there is some doubt about the handling of the two bottles, the test results should be tossed…especially if the results (combined 14.8 ng/ml) is < the NFL's threshold of 15 ng/ml).

    However, if he beats the suspension, I'm worried about Gordon's long-range well being. The NFL, the Browns, Gordon's agent, his family and friends must get it through to him that he's walking the razor's edge, not only with his career but his life. They MUST get a tight rein on this guy, get him in a serious program, and get him well.

    I'm a Browns fan but, in some ways wonder if Josh Gordon (the person) wouldn't be better off away from football, fame, money and those vampires feeding off of him.

  8. clownsfan says: Aug 2, 2014 6:20 PM

    Gordon needs to take his lumps. He did this to himself.

  9. ijbrekke says: Aug 2, 2014 6:22 PM

    If the rest of my career (and earnings potential) centered around avoiding drugs I would choose to never be around them, period. This isn’t hard.

  10. cougar69rt03 says: Aug 2, 2014 6:27 PM

    yeah its not the players fault for smoking dope, he already was a two time loser and the rule was the rule you get kicked out for a year ! take responsibility for yourself players. you can smoke dope snort coke to your hearts content after you are done playing .

  11. gadgetdawg says: Aug 2, 2014 6:29 PM

    I personally do hope he gets suspended. The only way the union is going to get up off their butts and do something about this is if the policy is enforced.

    If the NFL gets to suspend folks when it is easy to do so and then let folks off when the going gets warm this policy will go on forever. Does anyone not think RG will hold this over players heads to get what he wants?

    I hope each player that “deserves” suspension gets it because that is the only way to force the NFLPA to actually do something for their players. Wouldn’t that be different?

  12. allidoiswin55 says: Aug 2, 2014 6:29 PM

    Gordon deserves a year and rehab and jail time ! It’s not about what other people got punished for He’s a repeat offender to the nfl policies and in fact is repeatedly breaking laws that land you in Jail (I believe marijuana should be legal) . Same thing as three strikes your out in criminal cases. You cannot simply judge one action at a time without realizing the sum is far greater than the one incident , the repeat ignorance this guy has shown and the fans making excuses are pathetic !

    You HAVE TO FAIL 3 drug tests to even get suspended for the first time . This guys has had to have failed atleast 6-7 over the last 3-4 years to get this type of penalty .

    Gordon has gotten in trouble with the law, NFL and colleges during that time frame all over his abuse of drugs both weed and narcotics . Since his suspension , he’s been pulled over speeding and his companion had weed on him and another time he got a DUI. (THIS is literally days before his initial hearing with the league !!)

    The amount of marijuana in your system to fail an nfl drug test is 0.15. That IS NOT A LEVEL YOU CAN EVEN GET REMOTELY COME CLOSE TO FROM SECOND HAND SMOKE. Problem is most people on this forum are not from states that have legalized marijuana nor do they understand the plant makeup and percentages of compounds within each strain or joint etc.

    You CAN NOTTT get that level of marijuana in your system without smoking first hand . Not even someone inhaling then blowing the smoke into your mouth via KISS can do that( which is more than any hotbox can achieve do you think he was kissing peoples second hand smoke?) . Bc the initial burn or vapor is digested two different ways ,vapor digests into your blood stream from tongue and throat and smoke attaches to blood from within lungs and upon exhaling the smoke is barely potent,mostly just smell!

    Point is he did not get second hand smoke and even his sample @ 0.13 is not chemically possible of second hand smoke . In conclusion this dude is a moron period , he has abused the rules and totally ignored the local laws . If he wants to smoke who gives a shat, but if his job doesn’t allow it and he keeps doing it then he absolutely should be fired or suspended . A year for a joint doesn’t seen fair but when do you draw the line on someone whose literally been kicked out if every level of sports based on drugs and even at the pinnacle of sports with excellent structure and guidelines and liency is he still coming up above the limit agreed upon. He has no excuse for abusing the rules and he has abused them many times in a short career. People on hos side are all playing fan boy , he wasn’t worried about his future his team his fans or his bank account when he keep blazing up . Why are you fighting for someone whose the reason he’s in trouble in the first place.

  13. brucealmty says: Aug 2, 2014 6:30 PM

    If Gordon is suspended for a year his fate WAS NOT decided at the bargaining table… it was decided multiple times when he knowingly violated substance abuse policy and gambled on not getting caught. Stupidity is not a viable defense.

  14. uglydingo says: Aug 2, 2014 6:30 PM

    Josh Gordon’s attorney has a strong case and the NFL knows it. The difference in results between bottle A and bottle B means that the testing protocol is somehow flawed. Therefore the case should be dismissed.
    Gordon is not a saint but how can they suspend him for a full year based on test results that prove the protocol is flawed.

  15. brownsmakemecrazy says: Aug 2, 2014 6:40 PM

    fiance knocker outer 2 games
    weed smoker 16 games

    yeah that makes total sense lol

  16. joeflaccoallday says: Aug 2, 2014 6:50 PM

    #FreeJoshGordon

  17. cowboysmb3dw28 says: Aug 2, 2014 6:54 PM

    Not saying whether he does or doesn’t deserve to be suspended a full year. But something isn’t right to me if he gets the same length suspension Dante Stallworth got for getting drunk, getting behind a wheel, and killing a man.

    I get this isn’t Gordon’s first time getting in trouble for this, and that rules are in place. It just seems like the priorities of punishments in the NFL are a little misguided.

  18. bigblu73 says: Aug 2, 2014 7:00 PM

    What many people are failing to realize is that he had been getting tested up to 10x’s a week since his 2nd failed test!!! He had passed over 70 random tests then came this BS 1/2 pass 1/2 fail A/B sample!!! Anybody that knows anything about smoking weed knows that there is no way that he was tested that often and kept passing then only fails by the smallest of margins!!! He would have had a much higher percentage of thc in his system!! Such trace amounts DO suggest that something like 2nd hand smoke/hot boxing could be a “reasonable” assumption. I for one have been told on numerous occasions to not eat poppy seed bagels/muffins close to a drug test because it can give a marginal failure for opiates!!!! Although science tries to act as if it is perfect, it simply is not!!! To jerk a mans career off due to inconclusive evidence to “make a statement” is simply asinine!!!

  19. sw19womble says: Aug 2, 2014 7:04 PM

    Based on the draconian levels we’re talking about, TEN TIMES lower than the Olympic benchmark, I hope Gordon gets let off with a caution.

    However, I hope he understands that he dodged less a bullet than a bazooka and actually does something about cleaning up his act.

    You also have to wonder why Goodell continues to hold out about being judge jury and executioner on HGH testing etc… and why he insists it can’t be dealt with by a formal third party process as the NFLPA are insisting upon.
    Anyone would think he actually enjoys the power and attention as sole arbiter of all these disciplinary procedures.

  20. fumblenuts says: Aug 2, 2014 7:06 PM

    FREE JOSH GORDON…….IF NOT, HE SHOULD SUE!!

  21. si1m says: Aug 2, 2014 7:09 PM

    Gordon’s on his 5th strike already. 4 pot and a DUI. He’s not only out he’s ejected. Follow the rules and stop making excuses for him.

  22. pensman29 says: Aug 2, 2014 7:10 PM

    Because i picked him off waivers in fantasy, duh!

  23. dagator8888 says: Aug 2, 2014 7:25 PM

    Interesting that the first thing this article does is try to act as if the NFL is doing something to him. He did it himself. Also, it is in the contract because it is the right thing to do not because the NFL is trying to screw over the players. He has had issues almost yearly since coming out of high school. He needs to straighten himself out then come back….after the year.

  24. marthisdil says: Aug 2, 2014 7:48 PM

    “If Gordon was 200ng/ml or 2000 I would be calling him a turd, but this is plausible regardless of how much Warren Sapp laughs at the possibility. The NFL’s 15ng/ml is like a state having a .02 BAC limit with alcohol. Some things should be seen past the letter of the law and be handled appropriately.”

    ————-

    BS – players know the rules, and choose to break em. It’s sad Gordon is a moron, but, he deserves his punishment. He can bitch at the NFLPA if he doesn’t like it.

  25. kingkornkahn says: Aug 2, 2014 8:00 PM

    I don’t pretend to know anything about the test or how many nano particles second hand marijuana will actually remain in your blood stream. I don’t even smoke the stuff. However, I have sat as a passenger in cars with people who smoked up and I did get a contact high. The fact that there is a term “contact high” would suggest that my experience is not unique. So, if you can get high, why wouldn’t it register in a test for drugs? Particularly one with such a stringent criteria.

  26. MikeisWise says: Aug 2, 2014 8:12 PM

    And to respond to a number of misconceptions.

    Stallworth wasn’t at fault for that. A man ran across the freeway in front of him as he was driving in the morning after drinking the previous night. The only reason he didn’t appeal the ruling or really go after them as he could have is because he felt guilty.

    But hey, why don’t you mention the DUI that Gordon got WHILE WAITING FOR THIS APPEAL.

    Do you guys seriously not recognize the character of the dude you’re spilling all this faux outrage over? He’s a gd degenerate.

    Oh no Ray rice hit his wife. Wait she was his fiancé then. She…still married him? She claimed….she claimed to have struck first? She gave an impassioned plea to Goodell to not punish him as she provoked the incident? RAH RAH BOOOO HES A BAD GUY! TWO GAMES? OUTRAGE! STEPHEN A SMITH BOOOOOOOO!

    People need to seriously stop being idiots. There is a COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT. If this is your first year following football, go look up what that means. Maybe read a little bit on it. Josh Gordon was on a short leash even before he played an NFL game. He’s not getting anymore favors.

  27. albefree69 says: Aug 2, 2014 8:15 PM

    I don’t understand why anyone would think the penalty Gordon gets would affect my opinion of the penalty Rice got. Apples and oranges IMO. Rice should have received at least an 8 game suspension and my (and all my friends) opinion about that will be unaffected by whatever happens with Gordon.

  28. jbloggs13 says: Aug 2, 2014 8:21 PM

    This involved numbers and DeMaurice Smith is not good at numbers (he claims he is a recovering lawyer but what that means given his performance is difficult to understand). THC, HGH, IGF-1, all those letters got him confused. He just needed to figure out how to blame it on the players. De is not responsible for anything.

    How could you possibly expect him to get this clause correct when he blew so many other clauses? Who would negotiate a 10 year contract riddled with give backs while the league is rapidly expanding.

    Smith will go down in league history as the greatest mechanism of profit the owners ever experienced. They will need to put him in the Hall of Fame for the enormous financial contributions he had players make to the owners.

  29. dwinsgames says: Aug 2, 2014 8:22 PM

    Henderson needs to do the equivalent of jury nullification, ignoring the specifics of a law when they go so against the constitutional spirit of fairness.

    Is Gordon perfect? No, but sadly almost all of us have demons of one kind or another. He passed dozens of tests, then fails one on a questionable number. Look if he is as bad and stupid as some say, he won’t last long after being cleared. And if he stays clean, who loses?

  30. partmachine says: Aug 2, 2014 8:24 PM

    Weed is not a pain reliever in any way. Nobody is using it to avoid prescription drugs, they’re using it because it’s fun.

  31. kodatrout says: Aug 2, 2014 8:33 PM

    Gordon stick with domestic violence, murder, or dog torture and all will be forgiven by the “shield “

  32. 12brichandfamous says: Aug 2, 2014 8:34 PM

    There is no link between Ray Rice and this case. stop making it look like they are intertwined.

    Gordon is I violation of an agreement collectively bargained 3 years BEFORE Ray Rice knocked his girlfriend out. Gordon has had three years to get in compliance, and he has not done so. He deserves whatever he gets.

  33. MikeisWise says: Aug 2, 2014 8:37 PM

    You didn’t get a “contact high.” You’re just an idiot

  34. MikeisWise says: Aug 2, 2014 8:38 PM

    dwinsgames says: Aug 2, 2014 8:22 PM

    Henderson needs to do the equivalent of jury nullification, ignoring the specifics of a law when they go so against the constitutional spirit of fairness.

    Is Gordon perfect? No, but sadly almost all of us have demons of one kind or another. He passed dozens of tests, then fails one on a questionable number. Look if he is as bad and stupid as some say, he won’t last long after being cleared. And if he stays clean, who loses?

    Is he perfect? LOL. The dude got a DUI while waiting for his appeal for marijuana use. He’s a degenerate. Letting him off the hook is NOT going to help him. Would you give a crack head a itty bitty crack rock just to help them get past a rough patch? Spare me.

  35. horsepedlr says: Aug 2, 2014 8:44 PM

    where were all you gordon protectors when d washington got his year. no outcry then. and he just missed his tests. buncha phonies.

  36. jazynaz says: Aug 2, 2014 8:52 PM

    no, i don’t care what suspension they give gordon, it is irrelevant, and unrelated to the irresponsibly little punishment the league gave rice. the league is negligent in its reaction to rice’s actions/assault on his then fiance. the guy should have been jailed first, by the judge, then suspended by the league for many more games. what a terrible example the nfl is presenting to young men and women everywhere. people look up to these guys, and if goddell basically does nothing to firmly show that the league does not tolerate this kind of behavior, the nfl is telling young people that physical assaults, and domestic violence is ok, then young people will not take it to heart as a serious offense/violation and disrespect of another human being. wrong, goddell, just wrong nfl!

  37. sortssux says: Aug 2, 2014 9:09 PM

    partmachine says: Aug 2, 2014 8:24 PM

    Weed is not a pain reliever in any way. Nobody is using it to avoid prescription drugs, they’re using it because it’s fun.

    You never tried it have you? Its pain relieving qualities is why it is legal in some states for medicianl purposes.

  38. crabbies2013 says: Aug 2, 2014 9:18 PM

    He passed roughly 70 random tests, making the second hand smoke defense plausable. But why does he drive around with potheads ? Agree with Florio, anything more than two games is a travesty.

  39. holeinone09 says: Aug 2, 2014 9:30 PM

    The entire issue here is the rediculous incocsistency in fines and punishments in the NFL. There needs to be consequences if rules are violated, especially multiple times. But to me there is a big difference between being accused of something, being found guilty of something, domestic violence, smoking weed, killing someone, etc. And that is why everyone is up in arms on each side of every punishment. There is just no consistency in the punishments handed out or by agreement.

  40. fallguy2006 says: Aug 2, 2014 9:37 PM

    I heard somewhere that Air traffic controllers limits are 8 times greater than an NFL player. Somethings wrong here.

  41. denverdude7 says: Aug 2, 2014 9:41 PM

    Gordon is a 4X loser going on 5 with the recent DUI.

    Bye-Bye !!!!!!!

    Talk about a dumba$$ !!!!!!!

  42. seasickcecil says: Aug 2, 2014 9:42 PM

    Wow. In his July 5 DUI he blew an .09 and the states limit is .08. Dudes having a bad year.

  43. kjb7140 says: Aug 2, 2014 10:32 PM

    Just get this over already!

  44. excessivedrinking says: Aug 2, 2014 10:37 PM

    Brownstripes fans back this guy. Why? How many strikes are they going to give him?

  45. bucsmightbegood says: Aug 2, 2014 11:23 PM

    In what system is smoking a little contraband eight times more offensive than beating a woman unconscious?

    Goodell and the NFL lose if Josh Gordon is suspended for any longer than Ray Rice.

    For the “it’s not Ray Rice’s first offense” crowd, hitting a woman unconscious should be one million times worse than smoking contraband. Instead, Goodell and comany, potentially see it as eight times more tolerable than recreational drug usage.

  46. bensstinkyfingers says: Aug 3, 2014 12:10 AM

    The Nfl and their assnine rules need to be re-evaluated and changed by some representatives from NFLPA and NFL with common sense. Gordon is a bonehead no doubt, but in the grand scheme of things he has not harmed anyone unlike Ray “lights out lucy” Rice. I believe unless these guys are convicted of criminal sentences in the actual court of law then the NFl needs to keep out of it. Back in the 70′s if there was drug testing half of the teams “steelers / cowboys etc would have had half of their roster suspended + no rings. Their needs to be a balance based on real crimes to humanity versus political correctness and NFL image / profitability. I am a browns fan and think Gordon needs to learn a hard lesson, which hopefully already has, but a full season is ridiculous. 4-6 games is fair for the crime.

  47. billscastdotcom says: Aug 3, 2014 2:12 AM

    The lawyer’s name is Suh? Can’t make this stuff up!

  48. nickster31 says: Aug 3, 2014 2:26 AM

    Wasnt Gordon told last year when he failed a test that if it happened again, it would be a year?

    Yes, what Ray Rice did was WAY worse, no question. And, I think his punishment was a total farce.

    But comparing these two is apples and oranges. One, is the personal conduct rules, the other is the drug policy.

    The NFLPA agreed to these rules, both with different penalties. You can blame Goodell for going soft on Rice, but why does that excuse Gordon?

    And, what about all the others that have been suspended? Do we reduce their sentences as well?

    Gordon KNEW he was going to be tested, and failed. Then he got a DUI to add to the stupidity. Would anyone even be talking about this if Rice didnt hit her?

  49. campcouch says: Aug 3, 2014 2:39 AM

    He shouldn’t have agreed to the program as part of his draft process. At worse he’d be in stage 2 right now missing a couple of games.

  50. wyrdawg says: Aug 3, 2014 2:49 AM

    Kinda waiting for lawsuits against Goodell for now trying to be lenient.

    All of the toothpaste doesn’t fit back into the tube, bro.

  51. watermelon1 says: Aug 3, 2014 6:06 AM

    Lol such hypocrites.

    So are you really that hurt by what Rice did NOT do to you or anyone you know?

    Or are you that in favor of marijuana?

  52. ripdipbob says: Aug 3, 2014 9:03 AM

    The “shield” NFL doesn’t really want HGH testing. It’s all b/s, we would have a watered down product. Who wants that? I don’t care one bit if they juice or don’t. Do whatever it takes to entertain me!! Don’t miss any games and cost my fantasy team a win!!!

  53. niles6590 says: Aug 3, 2014 12:39 PM

    While it’s very true the factors that can lead to Gordon being suspended are included in the CBA and were agreed upon by the league and player’s association, they aren’t necessarily binding. People and media forget that in any workplace with unions, associations and CBAs a memorandum of understanding can be signed by both sides if both are in agreement to change provisions in the CBA at any time until it’s up for renewal. This may be the case with Gordon’s appeal.

  54. JaminJake says: Aug 4, 2014 10:49 PM

    MikeisWise says:
    Aug 2, 2014 8:12 PM
    And to respond to a number of misconceptions.

    Stallworth wasn’t at fault for that. A man ran across the freeway in front of him as he was driving in the morning after drinking the previous night. The only reason he didn’t appeal the ruling or really go after them as he could have is because he felt guilty.

    But hey, why don’t you mention the DUI that Gordon got WHILE WAITING FOR THIS APPEAL.

    Do you guys seriously not recognize the character of the dude you’re spilling all this faux outrage over? He’s a gd degenerate.

    Oh no Ray rice hit his wife. Wait she was his fiancé then. She…still married him? She claimed….she claimed to have struck first? She gave an impassioned plea to Goodell to not punish him as she provoked the incident? RAH RAH BOOOO HES A BAD GUY! TWO GAMES? OUTRAGE! STEPHEN A SMITH BOOOOOOOO!

    People need to seriously stop being idiots. There is a COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT. If this is your first year following football, go look up what that means. Maybe read a little bit on it. Josh Gordon was on a short leash even before he played an NFL game. He’s not getting anymore favors.

    ___________________________________

    Mario was running across the street to catch a bus and go home from his job as crane operator.
    Stallworth had a .126 BAC after he ran over Mario Reyes. This was the morning AFTER he had been out drinking. He didn’t appeal the ruling because his BAC after he hit Reyes was about 1.6 times the legal limit.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!