NFL’s position on Josh Gordon makes no sense

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If Browns receiver Josh Gordon had submitted a diluted sample in connection with a drug test imposed after his current suspension ended, he would have been subject to another suspension for at least one year. Now that he has submitted a diluted sample while still suspended, the NFL reportedly wants to see if he can make it 2-3 more months without another failed test.

The position makes no sense (with all due respect), given the realities of the substance abuse policy. Technically banished for life with the ability to be reinstated after one year, Gordon already has exhausted his last chance. Since a player who returns from a one-year suspension remains in Stage 3 of the program for at least 24 months, Gordon would be, if reinstated, one false move away from yet another banishment.

So why not reinstate him with the understanding that another positive means another suspension for a minimum of one year? Since that standard will apply if/when he’s reinstated, this approach provides an even greater incentive than keeping him away from his team for the balance of the offseason program in the hopes that he’ll manage to stay clean while left to his own devices.

It’s almost as if the NFL recognizes the heavy-handed nature of its commitment to keeping seasonal employees from smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol when on their own time, and that the league is actually trying to cut Gordon a break. So why would the league do that?

At a time when capable players are choosing not to play football, causing some to predict that more and more will do the same, maybe the NFL is beginning to realize that its habit of telling players what they can and can’t do on their own time is keeping multiple ready, willing, and able star players from setting foot on the field.

Right now, suspended receivers like Gordon, Justin Blackmon, and Martavis Bryant aren’t available to play, and they want to play. With Calvin Johnson choosing not to play, wouldn’t it make much more sense for the NFL to find a way to get Gordon, Blackmon, and Bryant on the field?

49 responses to “NFL’s position on Josh Gordon makes no sense

  1. Agreed it seems like a way to back off the current hard line. It also seems clear that it’s trying to make every effort to give him one more last chance. He messed up, again. Rather than banish him another year they’re bending over backwards for him. It sets a precedent when dealing with the next fool who can’t resist the drugs. I’m ok with that, but wish they’d find a more sensible way of dealing with this issue.

  2. “At a time when capable players are choosing not to play football, causing some to predict that more and more will do the same, maybe the NFL is beginning to realize that its habit of telling players what they can and can’t do on their own time is keeping multiple ready, willing, and able star players from setting foot on the field.”

    I 100% agree. Josh Gordon can literally go anywhere and make millions of dollars. He doesn’t need the NFL, the NFL needs him.

  3. The words “Common sense” and the “NFL” rarely appear in the same sentence…..for good reason.

  4. In other words, you gave them a hard time for not reinstating him immediately and now you want to give them a hard time for appearing to give him a chance to be reinstated.

    If you’re going to play the lemmings, you’ll have to do a better job.

  5. What is so hard to understand? Goodell has a wheel at which he throws a dart to determine penalties against specific infractions.

  6. He is still suspended and has a diluted sample, it should be bye, bye for good! He just doesn’t get it! He either thinks he is above the rules or a complete idiot, maybe both! Time for the NFL to terminate him, permanently!!!

  7. With smoking marijuana becoming legal in more and more places, you’d think that the NFL would be looking to reduce the punishment for that crime. If players aren’t breaking the law then why are they being punished so severely?

  8. This makes absolute no sense and I am a Browns fan who would love to see him return, but this just boggles the mind. It almost makes me wonder if they think there might have been something wrong with the test they administered? I would like to hear Gordon’s side of it, as he said before it was no big deal.

  9. Because the league doesn’t want the “bad press” of them reinstating Gordon only to have him fail another test… because that would make them look incompetent, which we all know they’re not… right?… right?

  10. Well its quite simple. He is breaking the law and he is not following the rules of the CBA. If we all want Goodell to abide by the VBA then it has to go both ways.
    Many of these players having been getting a pass simply because of their talent for a long time. They should understand that it won’t go on forever. Grow up and follow the law.

  11. The NFL shouldn’t come down so hard on the use of weed. I completely agree with that. However, with that said, this guy is a complete idiot. Seriously, you know the rules at this point. As stupid as they are, if you want to play, then sacrifices have to be made. Stop smoking, moron.

  12. We don’t have all the facts surrounding his relapse. If the treatment professionals saw he had made great progress despite this setback they may be advising the league that to take football away would be detrimental to his recovery.
    You also have to remember he is an addict. Addicts left to their own devices and no support will use. That is what addicts do. Taking that support away is not going to help him, anyone close to him or the Browns.

  13. Since MJ is still a federally banned substance, if my employer said to lay off of the weed for a 6-7 figure salary, I think I would do it. Just saying.

  14. Cmon nothing the NFL does makes sense. King Bozo the Clown Goodell is dumb as rocks.

    The policy itself is stupid on its own. No i dont smoke never have never will. The NFL is a bunch of morons. This is entertainment and Goodell is treating it like he is Judge Goodell that cant wait to fine players and suspend players any chance he gets.

    The on field product is becoming unwatchable for 90 percent of the games, players are retiring some due to health concerns and others because their teams are trying to low ball them and cheat them out of money that they have earned. Bye bye NFL in 5 yrs.

  15. It’s a simple explanation really when you think about it: Johnny Football was so high he peed in the wrong cup.

  16. More proof that Goodell ignores other AFC teams’ cheating or obvious infractions, as he either ignores completely or goes light on punishments, because he wants other AFC teams to be as good as possible to try to take down the Pats for parity purposes to expand overseas.

    Obviously, the Browns are not in the way of the Pats, but the premise still stands.

    Why do people think Goodell stuck his neck out to lie TWICE about Ray Rice?

    Because Baltimore has given NE some problems in recent years, at the end of Reed/Lewis’s careers, and Rice’s cap hit if cut, was 9.5 million last year.

    That’s why.

    One more AFC team weakened, means it’e even easier for NE to get their 1 or 2 seed every year and strengthen chances to get back to a SB. EVERY YEAR.

    So, we have proof galore that Goodell tries to use his power to manipulate the ability to try to keep parity to be able to open up the European, and apparent Asian markets for the NFL. Playing in Asia is a new idea this year, as pathetic and disgustingly greedy as that is.

    TRUTH

    Arrest, try and convict Goodell for defrauding the NE Patriots and lying to the NFL customer, just so he can play pupeteer, keep his job past 2020, make 40+ mil a year, and lie/defame the Patriots, including Brady in order to attempt to accomplish that.

    It all makes sense now….No foreign country’s investors are going to buy in and front money if the ROI is too much of a risk.

    Without true parity, there is too much risk.

    NE will go to its 6th straight conf. title game in 2016.

    Read it again, folks.

    The only franchise in NFL history close to that is the 1950s Browns, pre NFL merger.

    Yep.

    Goodell cheats in indirect ways, behind the scenes.

    FACT

  17. I wish Buffalo would make an offer to the Browns for Josh Gordon… Give them a second and third round pick… Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley would be able to get this kid on the straight and arrow. Opposing teams would have no clue how to cover Watkins, Gordon, Woods and Clay… with McCoy, Karlos Williams and Tyrod Taylor threatening the ground game! It would be a “Pick your poison” scenario all day long! I could only imagine the amazing plays that could be run with this group of players…

  18. Has Justin Blackmon indicated that he “wants to play”? Last I heard he seemed to be acting as if he has no intention of returning to the field.

  19. This article is overthinking it. This makes perfect sense actually.

    Under the NFL’s current substance abuse rules all of Gordons previous infractions save for the last one aren’t against the rules and he wouldn’t have had strikes against him for them had the current rules already been in place. Basically they’re making up for being too heavy handed the first few times. Had they had this approach from the get go the NFL wouldn’t have had all of sports coming down on them for being too harsh on their players which resulted in them having to change their policies in the first place.

    The kid failed a drug test via a technicality so he goes on a probationary period where he basically has to prove the technicality wrong. That’s the right thing to do. People are confused because they’re not used to the NFL actually doing something right when it comes to player discipline since it doesn’t happen often.

  20. The NFL will make a billion bucks whether or not a kid like JG plays. If you lower the bar for one player and one type of infraction, it opens the door for everything and anything. It waters down the message that rules actually matter. Coaches won’t be able to control their players in practices or on the field.

    I disagree that NFL players are seasonal employees. They are not. They are contracted throughout the year and don’t have an “off season” where rules, laws, and representing their team and the league do not apply.

    Just because I don’t teach on the weekends doesn’t mean I can light up doobies and come back and teach the kids on Monday. Or should I get caught mooning the neighbors doesn’t mean a school won’t fire my “lunar moment” butt.

  21. “With Calvin Johnson choosing not to play, wouldn’t it make much more sense for the NFL to find a way to get Gordon, Blackmon, and Bryant on the field?”

    At this juncture, it would make far more sense to get them extensive treatment for their addictions than to get them on the field. If it is more important to get drunk/high, then their place is in rehab, not at work.

  22. The dude should be banned from NFL ,come on Rodger get some balls ,this guy is cheating a piss test ,just like the Patriots cheated with ball inflation

  23. I don’t use either but marijuana seems less of the two evils. It just stays in your system longer and there is no way to detect if a person smoked marijuana 8 hours before coming to work or two days before coming to work. Hence the ban on it. But if your job requires you to stay clean then do so for 6 years and retire early

  24. kevo95 says:
    Apr 12, 2016 11:31 AM

    The dude should be banned from NFL ,come on Rodger get some balls ,this guy is cheating a piss test ,just like the Patriots cheated with ball inflation
    ——————————-

    Same with the MVP of Super Bowl 50.

  25. The NFL is popular because of the quality players they put on the field. Just like owners who will put up with crap from players because of how good they are, the NFL is going to bend its own rules to get one of the best talents around back on the field. Watch and see if the same wont apply to Manziel who like Josh Gordon has a huge fan backing which to the NFL converts to $$$$. The NFL makes its rules on the fly and they break their own rules on the fly as well depending on what the bottom line is. If you look at Goodells decisions they are driven by two things only (which is why it amazes me people get on Goodell the way they do), MONEY and OWNER WHIMS. Thats it. The Brady stuff was driven by the other OWNERS. Gordon is MONEY. Playing in other countries is MONEY. 18 games and expanded playoff format, MONEY and OWNERS. Anything Goodell does can be easily seen through those glasses.

  26. @archer454:
    Are you really comparing being a teacher to being an NFL player? I thought teachers WERE actually seasonal employees, as they didn’t get paid during the summer months. And even during the school year, of course you can do whatever drug of choice you want on your own time, provided you show up on time sober on Mondays. Your “comparison” is way off track.

  27. Weed is illegal federally. The league plays across multiple states, not just Colorado or Washington. People need to start voting for Congressmen and Senators who support the legalization and not those who cater to the religious fanatics.

  28. “Right now, suspended receivers like Gordon, Justin Blackmon, and Martavis Bryant aren’t available to play, and they want to play. With Calvin Johnson choosing not to play, wouldn’t it make much more sense for the NFL to find a way to get Gordon, Blackmon, and Bryant on the field?”

    Are you serious with this? Goodell is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Wouldn’t it make much more sense for these guys to get their personal lives straightened out?

  29. Sure blame the league for it…Or, you know, the guy who did one of the very few things that the league can actually suspend you for nowadays. If you know that there is one thing that you can’t do, and that one thing stops you from making enough money that you and your kids don’t ever have to work if you don’t want to, and that one thing is entirely voluntary…maybe don’t do it. If you’re an addict, maybe get help and keep a system in place to keep you out of situations where that is even an option.

    At some point, there’s got to be personal responsibility. Don’t blame the league for this. It’s on the individual. They are offered every chance in the world by the teams that they play for, and those teams are all willing to go the extra mile to keep players from doing this type of thing. At some point, the buck has to stop with the player.

  30. I’VE BEEN SAYING IT FOR YEARS: What’s more harmful to the NFL:

    A. Have world-class athletes like Blackmon, Martavis, and Gordon out there on Sundays thrilling the paying crowds, making highlight-reel plays…and then smoking once they’re at home on their off-time.

    or

    B. Have them suspended and sitting at home.

  31. The test was probably questionable. So they dont hand down another suspension which can be appealed, they just say keep clean and we’ll try again in a few months. The test could have failed proper procedure like with braun, or had a leak, like with sherman. It would be bad publicity to suspend him then have it overturned on something stupid as the tester not handling it properly.

  32. Josh Gordon has been suspended since last offseason, and I’m sure has been drug tested over and over again since then. If the NFL has seen that he has been working his tail off to get back into the league, and he has been clean every single time except this past March’s diluted test, why is it so hard to make sense of the NFL giving him a few more months to prove himself?

  33. Based on the information that’s out there….it appears he tested positive for a substance known as H2O, also known as water.

  34. The NFL is ruining a young man’s career over alcohol and weed. Really? If Roger and his band of scotch drinking buddies would put their bongs down for a minute, maybe they would realize the hypocrisy of their rules. On the other hand, probably not. Goodell sucks…

  35. The nflpa could of changed this during collective bargaining. They didn’t. Gordon knew this was coming. That’s why he bought something to cleanse his urine.

  36. “At a time when capable players are choosing not to play football…”
    ——–
    Seriously? You mean those half dozen or so players that are over 30 years old, have made their millions, and whose skills were declining? Those players?!

    It’s almost like some people don’t realize the nfl has never been more popular or more profitable. Yes, let’s keep pretending the nfl is on the decline.

  37. So the NFL should keep giving the Josh Gordon’s of the world a chance because he’s capable. In layman’s terms he should play so the Browns can become somewhat marketable.

  38. The real problem here is, the NFL is hanging these players out to dry. No contact with the team or allowed to be around the organization for a year. And they expect a player to turn things around? Left to his own devices. How can he not fail?

    Leave a Diabetic around sweets and other foods that are generally unhealthy, and see what happens. Not everyone have the proper discipline needed to get over the hump, even if ones life is at hand.

    They better review their process, before many players end up out of the league for good, because of the lack of support to make the needed changes in their life. And that’s really what these guys need, a support group, to help them make those necessary changes to stay off the drugs. This is bigger than the league’s reputation, Goodell has already ruined that much without anyone’s help.

  39. Why is this difficult to understand? Gordon wasn’t simply suspended for smoking weed in the off-season he was suspended for multiple violations of the collectively bargained drug policy. The NFL is the only party taking a lifetime banishment seriously and allowing for time to dictate whether Gordon can get himself to understand the severity of the punishment. He is suspended and has another failed test, so why does the NFL need to rush a decision when Mike Florio has already said its the off-season? No need to rush when Gordon hasn’t proven he can do anything consistently but fail drug tests.

  40. Big deal he smoked pot. NFL is so hypocritical it makes me sick. Gordon smoking pot is better then him popping legal prescription drugs that the NFL has pushed on its players for years so they could stay on the field. Players union never should have allowed the NFL to test for pot. Wake up NFL, you sell your fans alcohol at games and Alcohol is the root cause of most of our countries problems. Joke.

  41. When’s the last time ya heard of NBA, MLB, NHL or MLS Player being SUSPENDED for Marijuana Use?

    I’LL WAIT……………….

    Enough is Enough, These are “Gladiators” built and intended to ENTERTAIN, not be “ROLE MODELS”!!

    #RaiseUrOwnDamnKids!!!

  42. @mackcarrington
    “Are you really comparing being a teacher to being an NFL player? I thought teachers WERE actually seasonal employees, as they didn’t get paid during the summer months. And even during the school year, of course you can do whatever drug of choice you want on your own time, provided you show up on time sober on Mondays. Your “comparison” is way off track.”

    Yes, I am comparing being an NFL player to being a teacher. Nothing wrong with that. It’s just a comparison.

    Couple things mack:
    Teachers are seasonal. I never said they weren’t. Pay attention. But just so you know, a teacher can choose a 9-month or 12-month payment schedule.

    Secondly, of course, anybody in any occupation can do whatever drug whenever they want to. I’m comparing the consequences should a person get caught. That’s what we are talking about, being caught. The minute a teacher or athlete gets caught for DUI, public intoxication, or otherwise, their careers are in jeopardy: suspension, demotion, being released from a contract, etc.

    Try to read a comment in context.

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