Jul 28, 2014; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) during training camp at Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Statement: Shot at Josh Gordon?

Yesterday, first with Pro Football Talk and then with ESPN and other outlets, news came out about Josh Gordon‘s defense plans. Besides arguing that the 2 samples registered differently, something we gave you a step by step inside look into drug testing here, they also seemed to have a “second hand smoke” defense lined up as well. The idea is that at such a low level Gordon couldn’t of smoked marijuana himself, especially with the number of tests he has taken, and tested so low. Instead, his defense will go, it must of been second hand smoke.

The NFL, via email according to ESPN, seemed to directly respond to this argument without singling out Gordon by name:

“A cornerstone of both of our drug testing programs has always been that you are responsible for what is in your body,” Greg Aiello, NFL senior vice president of communications, said via email Tuesday. “It is stated that way in the policies.”

Accordingly if the tests are upheld it will be considered that Gordon is responsible for the marijuana in his body. The ESPN article goes on to compare it to other situations including Gordon’s suspension for Codeine that he was prescribed and Robert Mathis suspension for taking a fertility drug. There is a big difference between those situations and this one is that Gordon would not have to actively participate/ingest a substance for it to enter his body, unlike a pill or cough syrup.

Can the league prove that Gordon knowingly took the substance? Can Gordon’s team prove that he didn’t? The line drawn in the sand related to “responsible for what is in your body” could be contested in court. If the numbers reported yesterday are true, expect Gordon’s legal team to seek an injunction against the suspension. That could play out for a long time, allowing Gordon to play some or all of this season. Pat and Kevin Williams used the legal system to delay their suspensions about 2 and a half years. This could lead to some type of settlement between Gordon and the NFL.

Either way it is very interesting that the NFL would fire back in what seems like a direct way following yesterday’s reports. The ESPN story doesn’t not note anything about the details of this email. Did ESPN contact the league seeking comment? Did the league decide to send out an email on its own? What caused Aiello to release these statements? Likely it was a media request, but the direct response seems to mean the NFL is ready for a fight, starting Friday with his appeal hearing.

What do you think of this statement being released?

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