After a Friday marathon session that began at 9:30 a.m. ET and lasted until 7:00 p.m. ET, Browns receiver Josh Gordon’s appeal hearing has resumed.
Gordon, who’s in Cleveland for the continuation of the session, will participate via phone. Former NFL executive V.P. for labor relations Harold Henderson has been presiding over the hearing. Attorney Maurice Suh, who helped Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman avoid a four-game suspension under the PED policy in 2012, represents Gordon along with the NFLPA.
The substance-abuse policy requires a ruling to be issued within a “reasonable time” after the hearing ends. Gordon faces a full-year suspension for his latest violation of the substance-abuse policy, and the NFL interprets the relevant portion of the document to require an all-or-nothing outcome.
A negotiated compromise of fewer than 16 games and more than zero remains possible. The NFL has done that in the past, specifically with Gordon. Last year, a four-game suspension was reduced to two games via negotiations.
This time around, the NFL must balance the plain language of the policy (which if applied literally compels a one-year suspension) with the ongoing reaction to the Ray Rice suspension — and with the potential reaction to any discipline that will be imposed on Colts owner Jim Irsay, whose behavior (like Gordon’s) may have resulted from an addiction.