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Appeal still pending, Josh Gordon starts against Lions

Josh Gordon AP

Browns receiver Josh Gordon continues to face a minimum suspension of one calendar year.  But as his appeal remains pending, Gordon remains eligible to practice and play as he awaits the resolution of his appeal.  He was in the starting lineup against the Lions.

On Thursday, we reported that no settlement talks had commenced.  Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that no settlement talks will happen.

If not, that points to an all-or-nothing, full-year-or-no-suspension outcome, since the plain language of the substance-abuse policy contains no wiggle room.  Cabot nevertheless reports, citing an unnamed source, that hearing officer Harold Henderson can impose a suspension between zero days and 365, if he chooses.

Technically, that’s accurate; Henderson can do whatever he wants, and neither the league nor the NFLPA will have the ability to appeal his decision.  But the league insists that Henderson has no discretion to do anything other than impose a full-year suspension, if he finds that Gordon tested positive while in Stage III.  Since Henderson previously served as the executive V.P. of labor relations for the NFL, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t apply the policy generated by labor negotiations as written.

On Friday, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello reiterated a quote that the league office issued to PFT last month:  “The disciplinary penalties were negotiated by the parties more than 20 years ago and there has never been a proposal to change them.  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.”

In other words, there’s no discretion and no middle ground.  The policy states that a player who tests positive in Stage III “will be” suspended for a minimum of a full year.  While the NFLPA believes/hopes that Henderson will show lenience, the policy seems to prevent any lenience other than a finding of no violation.  Based on the quote from the league office, that’s how the NFLPA wanted it to be.

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21 Responses to “Appeal still pending, Josh Gordon starts against Lions”
  1. pnut87 says: Aug 9, 2014 7:49 PM

    Manziel isn’t starting? I see there are still tables unflipped…

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 9, 2014 8:10 PM

    Yeah maybe we should start thinking about shifting more of the blame over to the NFLPA side from the NFL side on this one. Let’s see what happens next.

  3. phlockar says: Aug 9, 2014 8:20 PM

    Ridiculous someone can get a year suspension for smoking weed and another gets two games for hitting and knocking out a female.

  4. elrock7 says: Aug 9, 2014 8:23 PM

    Some guys just don’t get it no matter how hard you hammer them.

    When the NFL and NFLPA take pot use out of the discipline process, guys can smoke and be around those who smoke as much as they want.

    Until then, take a holiday.

  5. maestro1899 says: Aug 9, 2014 8:30 PM

    On Friday, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello reiterated a quote that the league office issued to PFT last month: “The disciplinary penalties were negotiated by the parties more than 20 years ago and there has never been a proposal to change them.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    Maybe this is Greg Aiello’s secret code to the NFLPA to propose to CHANGE it.

    The NFL was willing to raise it to 100 ng if the players would agree to HGH testing. That shows that the NFL knows it should be higher.

  6. numberoneinthehoodg says: Aug 9, 2014 8:32 PM

    I have a lot to say. But, Mark Cuban, can you handle this for me?

  7. andreweac says: Aug 9, 2014 9:05 PM

    Josh Gordon should have apparently beat up a woman so badly she was left unconscious rather than being caught in the same room as somebody else smoking marijuana.

    The NFL rules are appalling and reflect Saudi Arabia more than a civilized country.

  8. thefiesty1 says: Aug 9, 2014 9:26 PM

    Why is Gordon playing in a Pre-season game. What a waste of time in giving someone else a chance to play.

  9. mediasloppy says: Aug 9, 2014 9:26 PM

    It’s crazy watching Gordon’s talent literally going up in smoke.

  10. theravenlives2 says: Aug 9, 2014 9:34 PM

    Josh Gordon should have apparently beat up a woman so badly she was left unconscious rather than being caught in the same room as somebody else smoking marijuana.

    The NFL rules are appalling and reflect Saudi Arabia more than a civilized country.
    ================================
    What you Clowns fans so “conveniently” forget is this is Rice’s first run-in with the league in his eight years in the league.

    You sainted receiver is now on his FOURTH run-in with the league (because a one-year suspension is the penalty for a fourth infraction). Seems like somebody needs to learn how to read a rule book.

    Please stop comparing the Rice penalty to this penalty. It’s like comparing and apple and a Buick.

  11. brownsmakemecrazy says: Aug 9, 2014 9:50 PM

    I mean the NFL league office is a bunch of morons. I mean how much more time do u idiots need.

    Goodell and these Henderson clown need to be canned tomorrow for their utter incompetence and unethical behavior

  12. pcoisma says: Aug 9, 2014 10:32 PM

    Make the League chose a decision. Then you have options.
    .Just the beginning folks.

  13. jchipwood says: Aug 10, 2014 12:47 AM

    He will be suspended no more than 8 games. The whole rice thing helped his case.

  14. taj77 says: Aug 10, 2014 1:15 AM

    Joshstice will prevail.

  15. coachbeck says: Aug 10, 2014 2:03 AM

    Why would there be any room for negotiation? Why would you negotiate with a repeat drug offender? He would have no leverage anyway. They gotta give him the full year. Same as Blackmon

  16. si1m says: Aug 10, 2014 2:43 AM

    the comments on every Gordon article could basically be transplanted from one to the next and no one would know the difference.

    he’s getting suspended. deal with it and save your tears and excuses.

  17. monarch76 says: Aug 10, 2014 1:03 PM

    A guy who beats up women on video gets 2 games. Gordon’s crew should threaten to point this out daily. And he should go on opra…. You can’t compare weed to domestic violence. Give me a break. They may as stop wearing pink gloves and pretending to care about women.

  18. twelsh36446 says: Aug 10, 2014 3:04 PM

    I think he should be banned for life for being an idiot.

  19. denverdude7 says: Aug 10, 2014 7:31 PM

    Even if the NFL changed the drug policy today it’s too late for Gordon.

    One year suspension plus another 8 games added to it for the DUI.

    Bye-Bye now… don’t forget to write if you can put down the pipe long enough to find a pen that is.

  20. councilofargos says: Aug 11, 2014 5:23 AM

    Well I hedged my bets in the world of fantasy football hes got a chance. I didnt build my team around him.

    But I do know a little about DUI. Lawyers can do a lot of funny things. Basically if you dont blow they dont have much.

    But if you did blow and it was not so good. Lawyers can attack the test equipment it has to be calibrated every 90 days.

    I did some work at Bell Labs too, yep if a board failed, I would test it again to see if it was the same failure, could be a test set error, human error or actual board failure.

    With that Josh took (2) tests, he failed one 16 ng, passed another 14 ng, the pass line is 15 ng. He passed one and failed one by less than 10%.

    However if it was the same sample from the same day from Josh, you cant really say he was higher one day than the other, what could have an error like that is the test equipment, maybe the person running the test loaded it in slightly off, maybe the set was not calibrated.

    But if both tests were done on the same day, I dont see how the arbitrator if acting like a neutral party would have to look at the accuracy of the test equipment. Its not like he was double the legal limit for the NFL. the difference I think looks like 0.000000001. if my memory of math is right. That is a really small number

    If Gordon loses this I dont see how he cannot win a civil settlement in a courtroom, if the (2) tests where taken on the same day, if they where not then this was a mute point.

  21. twelsh36446 says: Aug 15, 2014 12:35 AM

    Who’s Josh Gordon?

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