Josh Gordon’s suspension shows NFL has priorities out of order
“Appeals officer Harold Henderson has upheld the suspension for the 2014 NFL season of Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The suspension is effective immediately.
“Gordon’s eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season.”
With those 46 words in an NFL-issued statement, the last sliver of hope among team officials and fans that Gordon would somehow be available this season was shot down. Gordon is gone – maybe never to return – and the Browns are left to pick up the pieces.
“While we may have strong feelings on the timing and the process of this decision, we have also consistently communicated that we will focus on what we can control in our day to day approach,” General Manager Ray Farmer said in a team statement. “Right now, that is preparing our team for the 2014 season, and at the same time, supporting Josh however we are able under NFL guidelines during his suspension.”
The worst part in all of this is that Gordon can have virtually no contact with the team during his suspension. The one place where he has never caused trouble – on the field and in the locker room – is the very place where he needs to be. But because of the rules, he is now free to spend time with the “friends” that have helped contribute to his problems.
Not to absolve Gordon of blame in this, but how is that going to help him in any way?
It is going to be interesting to see what repercussions ripple out from this decision.
The NFL is also under pressure after only handing down a two-game suspension to Baltimore’s Ray Rice for knocking his fiancée unconscious in an elevator.
The league also apparently has no problem with Denver wide receiver Wes Welker continuing to play despite suffering his third concussion in just the past 10 months.
Beating a woman unconscious? Slap on the wrist. Having your brain repeatedly scrambled? Hey, that’s your problem. But toke up and you receive the league’s full wrath.
We understand that this is all part of the collective bargaining agreement between the players and the league, but that doesn’t make it right. And we’re willing to bet this is going to be a big topic between the players and the league going forward.
“I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans,” Gordon said in a statement released by the NFL Players Association “I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn’t exercise better discretion and judgment in my case. I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team, and the Cleveland Browns staff.”
There is a lot of disappointment to go around. We’re disappointed that Gordon was unable to make better decisions. We’re also disappointed that the league couldn’t find a better solution to Gordon’s problems.
There’s not much else to say about the situation; Gordon did the crime and now he has to serve a punishment completely out of line with the offense.
All we can do now is hope that Gordon gets the help he desperately needs to get his career and life back on track.
Just don’t look for the NFL to be the ones helping him out.