Josh Gordon’s long and winding road to redemption has hit another bump as the NFL denied Gordon reinstatement to the league earlier today.
While Gordon has had his troubles with substance abuse and various run ins with law enforcement officials dating back to his college days at Baylor, the reasoning behind this latest denial is seemingly unclear.
Source: The NFL has denied #Browns WR Josh Gordon's reinstatement petition. He can reapply this fall.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 11, 2017
Josh Gordon first broke onto the scene as a rookie in 2012, selected in the second round of the Supplemental Draft after the Houston native had been kicked off his college teams at Baylor and Utah for failing drug tests.
It was his breakout 2013 season in which Gordon showed so much promise, racking up 1,646 yards on 87 catches and scoring 9 touchdowns, despite missing the first two games due to suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Then Gordon’s trouble really started, the electric wide receiver was initially suspended for the entire 2014 season for another violation of the substance-abuse policy. The suspension was later reduced to 10 games, and Gordon played the final five games of the season.
That was the last time he played in the NFL.
Gordon was suspended for all of 2015, but was set to be reinstated after the first four games of the 2016 season; however just before he was eligible to return, Gordon checked himself into a rehab center to, as he said, “gain full control of my life and continue on a path to reach my full potential as a person.”
A glimpse at Gordon’s social accounts and his working out with former Olympian Tim Montgomery, suggest that Gordon is trying to get on the straight and narrow path. He’s obviously dealing with some pretty serious demons and substance abuse issues, both of which the NFL has zero tolerance for.
It’s a pretty hypocritical stance by the NFL, which has allowed domestic abusers and sexual assailants to play in the league, but Gordon is getting the Ricky Williams blackball treatment.
The NFL’s draconian rules about weed use are even more ridiculous when placed alongside the league’s rampant prescription painkiller problem. In a lot of cases, guys are popping pills before games to mask pain and be able to go out on the field, but risking long term injury.
More alarming than players taking drugs to mask pain is a seemingly systematic operation by many team doctors to pump players up with numbing agents and blood thinners, like Toradol, without players’ knowledge of what is going into their bodies.
This has become the subject of a lawsuit, with more than 1,800 former players claiming that doctors “improperly distributed and administered painkillers, causing long-term organ and joint damage” according to SB Nation.
Had Josh Gordon been smart enough to just take super addictive opioids, he'd be playing
— Nate Geary (@NateGearySports) May 11, 2017
Last month, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he saw no benefits of allowing players to use marijuana,
“[Marijuana] does have addictive nature. There are a lot of compounds in marijuana that may not be healthy for the players long-term. All of those things have to be considered. And it’s not as simple as someone just wants to feel better after a game. We really want to help our players in that circumstance but I want to make sure that the negative consequences aren’t something that is something that we’ll be held accountable for some years down the road.”
Goodell truly has no shame. He’s claiming he doesn’t want to be “accountable” down the road for harming the health of players when the NFL is currently in a lawsuit because team doctors actively violated federal drug laws and regulations while treating players.
I understand the criticism of Josh Gordon, dude seemingly had it all and threw it away for the piff, but somehow framing him as the bad guy in all of this is severely missing the mark.
"If josh Gordon had punched Mary j instead of smoking her he'd be suiting up this fall, my column"
— Trill Withers (@TylerIAm) May 11, 2017
As for the Browns and where they stand, Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said at the NFL’s owner’s meetings that they’d be open to a reunion, provided that Gordon is healthy.
“Listen, assuming he would play at the level we started to see glimpses of last preseason and certainly in the league before, [Gordon] would be a talent I think no team in the NFL would turn down if he got back in. Our decision with Josh is just understanding where he is in this process and being able to have him. We’re not in position at wide receiver to turn down a guy like Josh if we feel he’s settled himself. Josh is going to have an opportunity to reapply to the NFL and at that time we’ll make a decision when we know what’s going on.”
Gotta love the flaming hypocrisy of the NFL.
Gordon is eligible to apply for reinstatement again sometime in the fall, I’ll be rooting for him to tear the league up.
In the meantime, check out how twitter reacted to the news of the NFL’s decision to deny Gordon’s reinstatement.