In the NFL, there are few coincidences, big or otherwise.
And the cynical view in the wake of the leak from the league office to Mark Maske of the Washington Post that the NFL will be beefing up the penalties for future domestic violence cases is that the league hopes to take some of the sting out of the looming decision to suspend Browns receiver Josh Gordon for a full year.
Applied as written, Gordon’s suspension becomes a no-brainer. He tested positive while in Stage III of the program, which compels a full-year suspension, and nothing less.
Fully aware that the media and plenty of fans will point to the discrepancy between Gordon’s full-year ban and the two-game suspension imposed on Ray Rice for assaulting his then-fiancée, the only way to deflect attention regarding the comparison between the two cases would be to send the message that, in future cases like Rice’s, the punishment will be three times greater.
If Josh Gordon will indeed be suspended for a full year, the NFL owes it to the Browns and to Gordon to implement the decision now, so that Gordon can start the 365-day clock ticking on his return. Chances are the league plans to wait a couple more days, until roughly 4:59 p.m. ET.