The NFL announced on Wednesday that Josh Gordon will miss the entire 2014 season with the Cleveland Browns. Gordon failed a test for marijuana and therefore incurred another violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. The Brown’s star player’s suspension is effective immediately and his “eligibility” for reinstatement will not be determined until the following season.
During his suspension he is not allowed to be involved in any events that are “Browns” related. Gordon is not allowed to attend team meetings, practice or any club functions. When Gordon failed his drug test he also failed his team. He not only led the league in received yards last season, he also demolished the team record. Gordon was suspended two games last season for failing a drug test, but soared in the remaining 14 games when he was active. During the two games he did not play his team suffered.
Cleveland’s football team has been waiting for months for a resolve to their star player’s pending case. In the interim Gordon continued his role with his team. He practiced as well as played in the first three exhibition games. The team was frustrated waiting to see where Gordon’s suspension might leave them if it was upheld. There was even speculation that the league might not go so hard on him after suspending Ray Rice, Baltimore’s running back, for only two games on a domestic violence charge.
While waiting on an answer from the NFL Gordon’s behavior did not help his case. He was stopped in Ohio last May for speeding and was charged in July with driving drunk after he was arrested in North Carolina. The league has decided they will suspend Gordon for the entire season and see how he handles himself before jeopardizing their brand by putting him back in the game.
The decision of the league was a crippling blow to the Brown’s offense. The team knew they took a risk in selecting 23-year-old Gordon who failed at least three previous drug tests for marijuana abuse while in college. Although this was Gordon’s second known drug violation he shrugged it off by saying he had inadvertently taken codeine contained in a prescription cough syrup.
Although Gordon does not agree with the decision of the NFL he released a statement of apology to his supporters and those affected by the league’s decision.
I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans. 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.
Gordon appealed the initial suspension and hired Maurice Suh, a successful attorney, to represent him at his appeal hearing. Suh is the attorney who successfully fought for a reduced suspension for Richard Sherman, Seattle cornerback. Gordon’s attorney argued that his client’s drug test was positive due to secondhand smoke. He added, since the test results of his samples were not consistent they should be thrown out.
Gordon not only failed his drug test but his team members as well. Due to his suspension he will miss the entire 2014 season with the team that gave him a chance. The suspension is effective immediately. Whether or not Josh Gordon will return to the Cleveland Browns’ roster will not be determined until next season.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)