Coming into the NFL in 2012, all 32 NFL teams were aware of what they were possibly getting into while pursuing draft prospect Josh Gordon. The now 23 year old Cleveland Browns wide receiver may be an elite talent and possibly be the best at his position, but his off-field actions have plagued his short professional career.
Gordon is contesting his positive test because the two samples he provided don't match. According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Gordon's sample "A" was slighly higher than the allowed threshold, while his sample "B" was lower than that same threshold of 15 nanograms-per-liter. The Browns receiver and his legal team will claim that Gordon tested positive because of second-hand smoke intake, Schefter also reports. Second-hand smoke is not a suspendable offence, according to the league.
There are certainly flaws in the way that the league is running. In a time where worse crimes are being committed in this league, I don't think that smoking weed should be the greatest concern on the mind of commissioner Roger Goodell. We've seen someone like Michael Vick commit the inhumane crime of killing animals and return to the league. Free agent receiver Donte Stallworth was charged and convicted of DUI manslaughter in 2009, and ended up serving a one year ban from the NFL after serving a jail sentence of 24 days. The year long ban is the same length that Gordon faces from Goodell currently.
I could discuss numerous incoherent decisions made by the league, but it is clear what the NFL is doing. They pick and choose what they deem reprehensible, and what will hurt their businesses' image the most. The league has recently taken heat for their decision involving Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was alleged to have beaten his fiancee, now wife, back in February. He is set to serve a two game ban at the start of the 2014 season. Nobody knows exactly what happened in that Atlantic City elevator, but there is no way that missing two games cancels out a potential domestic violence case.
The NFL needs to change its moral code because they are essentially saying it's more of an offence to smoke weed than take a man's life or alleged beat your significant other. What does that say to young people looking to play in this league someday? By no means am I saying that Josh Gordon should get off without some sort of punishment. He is a repeat offender under the drug policy, which the players and league officials agreed upon. Gordon needs help because this isn't isolated. He left Baylor in 2011, after being suspended by coach Art Briles for marijuana use.
Super Bowl champion and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has stated on numerous occasions how he believes that marijuana will be useful to the NFL in the future for curing player ailments. Of course, the Seahawks and Denver Broncos are the only two NFL teams that could currently benefit from the state laws of Washington and Colorado, respectively, regarding recreational marijuana use.
Obviously not every player uses marijuana, but numerous players, both past and present, have stated that the number that do is above 50% of the player population. A report by ESPN in 2012 claimed that roughly 70% of NFL draft prospects admitted to using marijuana.
Where has the league been all these years when PEDs have been prevalent though? Goodell, and Paul Tagliabue before him, know that the landscape of professional football would be significantly less entertaining and profitable had HGH and other performance-enhancing drugs not been involved.
If Gordon weren't such a prolific talent, then maybe we wouldn't be discussing this issue. Yes, I might be hypocritical because I will continue to watch the NFL every Monday, Thursday, occasional Saturday, and Sunday and support my New York Jets, but there really is a problem here and someone needs to say something.