Eighteen days later, still no Josh Gordon ruling


Unless the NFL indeed announces the Josh Gordon suspension as part of a late Friday afternoon news dump, a decision on his appeal won’t be announced today.  Which will mean that 18 days have passed without a resolution.

The substance-abuse policy requires a decision from the hearing officer within a “reasonable time.”  It doesn’t specify or define “reasonable.”

In contrast, the PED policy specifically requires a decision to be made within five days after the conclusion of an appeal hearing.

Setting aside for now the failure of the NFL or the NFLPA to demand a specific deadline, the use of five days under one policy could become relevant in determining whether 18 days is “reasonable.”  Which could give Gordon something/anything on which to mount a legal challenge, if/when a decision finally is made.

Unless hearing officer Harold Henderson issues a decision in the next hour or two or over the weekend, the ruling will come at least 21 days after the hearing ended.  The problem for Gordon and the Browns comes from the reality that, if he’s suspended for a full year, he’ll be banished for a full calendar year — 365 days.  Which means that he won’t be eligible for reinstatement until the last couple of weeks before the start of the 2015 regular season.

Word of the proposed suspension first emerged in May.  When it comes to a full-year suspension, the process needs to move a lot more quickly.  With the first game of the regular season only 16 days away, this specific appeals process couldn’t have moved much more slowly.

69 responses to “Eighteen days later, still no Josh Gordon ruling

  1. WWJD!!! Free Josh Gordon! Waiting for the hammer to fall since May is punishment enough.

  2. The nfl cant suspend him the year or everyone will be made Rice only got 2 games. Well more mad. So maybe this judge is trying to find a way to let him off the hook, and maybe he thinks if he stalls the decision, Gordon can somehow get out of it. Im not sure, but it seems like a vigilante judge, because like you said, the judge can figure out what hes gonna do pretty fast.

  3. I got an idea…just make Josh’s punishment 4 games…twice as much as Ray Rice got…

    THERE, see how easy that was?

  4. He will be exonerated with no suspension, but this delay is the NFL’s way of getting their pound of flesh and punishing him anyway.

  5. This is a serious problem with yet another instance we see where terminology is unspecific and left open to interpretation, and when the lawmakers or the judges who write these things then have to act, then they can assess how to logically determine or make a case for what that word might mean for that particular circumstance, and it could be perceived by others as completely different from one case to another. It’s “loopholes” like this which we see resulting in violence and crime and other unethical and immoral activities in this world. If you don’t have a clear rule that cuts out multiple interpretations or unintended consequences, then you have a potential debate and problem, and in some cases a very serious one.

    Don’t blame the players until you blame the lawmakers and the overseers first.

  6. This whole thing is such a mess… it should be a slam dunk; he messed up bad, then messed up AGAIN during the process. NFL Discipline says “you’re in trouble…I think?”

  7. I wonder if the league is punishing Haslam for the Pilot J fiasco after they granted him permission to buy the Browns? Or they are trying to stretch it out to make him sweat it out and they are not going to suspend him at all?

  8. This is ridiculous. I can only imagine that we’re looking at less than a full year suspension unless Goodell is looking to really screw over Gordon.

    If he’s really trying to stick it to him, then waiting until the latest possible moment to hit him with the suspension will impact him this year and next as well due to the “365 day” suspension. It would cut into his training camp and make it less likely that he’d be effective early in the season.

    Why this is being allowed by the NFLPA is totally baffling. I just can’t comprehend how they aren’t making a big stink about this.

  9. At this point if they suspend for 16 games I see no way Gordon’s attorneys don’t instantly go to the courts. It’s ridiculous.

  10. The stalling can only be a good thing for Gordon. They are probably trying to devise an appropriate PR strategy because they are reducing his suspension after the Rice debacle.

  11. They won’t do it today now, it’ll run during every game being played. Maybe late Sunday.

  12. So, what you are saying is even though, Gordon got into a designed program that by all means is a program designed to so, that the person fails. Which as of note, Gordon passed 70 times.

    Now, it would seem simple. Gordon, got caught. But, in Ohio when it comes to drug testing. Ohio wants to make sure something didn’t just get messed up. So, Ohio has a confirmatory law. When it comes to drug testing. Meaning if sample A is positive and sample B is negative the whole test is negative. Must have been the +/- variance with the testing machine.

    Gordon, screwed himself for sure. The shield though, has a much tougher challenge than it wanted on this choice.

  13. This is a pathetic situation that reflects extremely poorly on the NFL. Gordon is one of the league’s brightest young talents, and what we know for certain is that his life is far more likely than not to go off the rails if he’s forced away from the structure and discipline of being on an NFL team for a full calendar year. The fact that he was placed in Stage 1 because of college incidents and Stage 2 because he used a prescription cough syrup that contained codeine only makes this worse.

  14. Gotta let some time blow over….if they give him a longer suspension than Ray Rice than it makes the NFL look bad…..if they give him a shorter one than it won’t look so bad….

  15. Must agree. Regardless of the merits & as an avowed Browns hater, the process has been extremely unfair to Gordon & the Browns. And I expect the NFL will remain deaf to this deficiency as well.

    On another note – if you’re the Steelers, aren’t you curious to know why these guys were rolling to catch the team plane with 20gms of weed? Wonder who else was planning to smoke with them before & after the game? …& don’t tell me the girl in the back was going to hold on to it…it wouldn’t have been in the car if they weren’t taking it with them!

  16. The entire rule book on Marijuana is about to change real soon isn’t it? That punch from Ray Rice is going to turn out to be a big one.

  17. Here’s a conspiracy theory. The league recognizes that this kid is a top 5 WR, the Browns have been irrelevant since the 8o’s, they may finally have some decent QB play from what Hoyer did last year and their Def isn’t pathetic. They make it go away on a technicality. I’m cool with that, if Gordon is truly that stupid they’ll catch him again and drop the hammer. I’d rather see him play. Perhaps being from Washington state we see everything with a hemp hue to it and I haven’t used the stuff in years.

  18. If they suspend him now he won’t be ready to play game 1 of 2015, which would be unfair to Gordon and the Browns, Look for 8 games or less…

  19. Not fair to a first year coach, 2 weeks before the first game & can’t be sure about gameplanning.

  20. People aren’t being realistic about the 365 deal. They could just suspend him 365 from the date of the failed test, its not magic, its just up to the arbiter of his punishment

  21. This says to me that he’s definitely not being suspended for the full season. His agent and lawyer’s would be making a stink if otherwise. No suspension whatsoever would be pretty shocking. I’m predicting anywhere from 4-8 games.

  22. Why suspend him at all? Given the zero positives on 70 tests administered and the very low results on the one they nailed him on, the most reasonable conclusion is that he did indeed get of whiff of second hand smoke.

    The overriding consideration here should be administering justice, not adhering to some arbitrary standard to screw an innocent person. Given the totality of the circumstances the NFL should let him play. No suspension is in order here.

  23. I’ve been saying 8 games all along, and am sticking to it. The Browns play their final preseason game next Thursday night against the Bears. The announcement will come on Friday.

  24. This is ridiculous !!! Hurry up and make a decision !! I have two fantasy drafts next weed!! Oops!! I meant week!! Must be the smoke !!

  25. Come on Rog, don’t be a douche. It’s weed man. Whether it’s Gordon or cheech and chong/Bell & blount, it’s just weed. Change the NFL policy already, cut these non-thinkers a break. It’s the NFL…these guys are never going to be rocket scientists. It’s not like they’re cooking meth.
    One game and done. Because doing things like beating your wife unconscious are actually worse than taking a toke off a plant. Seriously.

  26. Gordon would have been talking about becoming the best receiver in the league if he hadn’t been toking. Oh, excuse me, sitting innocently within inhaling distance of the true perp.

  27. What the NFL might do now that they have delayed this unreasonably is compromise by either backdating the suspension or suspending Gordon for 16 games instead of a full 1 year ban.

    If they decide to repeal or reduce the suspension they should consider doing so for all other players suspended for this. The CBA has specific language stating that the NFL can’t treat stars differently.

  28. The good news is the longer it takes to make a ruling the more likely the punishment will be altered by the arbitrator. Obviously the arbitrator has a lot to review in Gordon’s favor. If Gordon had no case his appeal would have been quickly rejected.

  29. My guess is that he’s going to get a reduced suspension and they’re waiting to announce it until closer to the first game. That way he can continue to practice with the team during training camp rather than sit out.

  30. Once again, I don’t completely agree with the policy, but for now rules are the rules. He has to be treated just like everyone else. 1 year.

  31. He is not going to make a difference anyway. Your of fence is abysmal. They should seriously consider disbanding the franchise or moving it to Baltimore, oh wait….

  32. Big Ben: 6 games for accusations
    Ray Rice: 2 games for knocking his woman out and dragging her…
    Josh Gordon: 1 year for what truly is second hand smoke (if he had smoked, his parts per million would have been WAY WAY higher, that’s science)

    So accusations get you 6 games, second hand smoke gets you a year ban, but beat the crap out of your wife and get caught on camera… Josh, you should have recorded yourself hitting the bong and doing lines the bathroom with Johnny. You’d probably get a letter from the league commending you for your transparency and a bonus.

  33. Again, it took Nigel Bradham a year…when will you people realize this???

    Goodell waits a long time to make a decision…he’s a horrible commissioner.

  34. I guess the NFL is busy ordering new Flags because the other ones are wearing out.

    This has gone to far. Tell the kid weather he is going to play or not!

  35. It is a bit funny that there are so many assumptions that are made in reference to Josh Gordon in general. Many, who are completely unfamiliar with Gordon’s overall history, will make the general comment “this is easy, he broke the rules several times, open & shut case”, or comments to that effect.
    Here are the facts for Gordon:
    1) If this “failed test” holds up, it will be the FIRST failed test he’s had, while in the NFL, for Marijuana. I’d be willing to bet, 95%+ of the posters on this forum assumed he’d failed tests for marijuana previously while in the league.

    2) Another FACT that few are aware of & again, if this “failed test” is upheld by the league, this would only be the SECOND time Gordon has failed a drug test in the NFL.

    1st Offense = Failed Test for taking a cough syrup for bronchitis that contained codeine.

    2nd Offense = Tested AT the ridiculous level set by the league that constitutes a failure, yet the confirmation sample was under the limit & combined, the sample would have been a Pass.

    The league & the Browns have an opportunity to help a kid that seems to need it. Lets all hope they choose to treat the kid with necessary help rather than punishment! IMO, knocking your fiance out & dragging her across the floor is a case that should garner much more attention & a harsher punishment.

    I’m going to guess & say that there will be NO Suspension for Gordon, rather a mandatory treatment plan!

  36. Even “if ” he only gets 8 games, do you really honestly think he can not smoke and pass all the drug tests he will be subject too in the next year and a half ??? Haha.. Keep telling yourselves that…

  37. The kid very obviously has a problem and it should be dealt with. However, the Browns should be screaming about the time it is taking to get a ruling. This is seriously hurting them for next years planning. How long can it take to decide!

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