May 21, 2014; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) during organized team activities at Cleveland Browns practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Arbitrator, not Goodell, To Make Final Decision on Josh Gordon (Bad News?)

As we covered in some length this morning the Josh Gordon saga seems to be never ending. Reports of his meeting with Roger Goodell getting pushed back. Differing opinions of what might result from the appeal hearing were all over the place. One issue that wasn’t understood was who would be making the final decision related to Gordon. Would Roger Goodell get that right or would the arbitrator’s decision be final. With the meeting with Goodell set for next week it was assumed it was Goodell. Looks like we were wrong:

It is another interesting twist to an interesting story. Generally these type of appeals are heard by a 3 man panel. In this case the hearing will be heard by the one man arbitrator. That seems to fly in the face of the NFL’s policy on such cases. Could that mean he will be judging on things differently then in other cases?

For those hoping for a negotiated settlement between the NFL and Players association that is highly unlikely at this time based on this information. The arbitrator isn’t in a position to negotiate. That means the Ray Rice situation, the NFL’s desire for HGH testing and the any public relations concerns are no longer a part of the discussion. Instead the arbitrator will make a black and white ruling based on the policy and procedures setup by the NFL. That means if he was positive based on their policy then he will be suspended for a year. If he wasn’t positive based on their policy, or that their were tactical, procedural errors in the testing, then he will not be suspended at all.

It is still possible that Gordon will be suspended for his DUI arrest earlier in the summer even if he is cleared of the drug related charges. Gordon will also remain in the Stage 3 of the drug policy for the rest of his career. That means he is one wrong choice away from being suspended for a year, no matter what the results of this appeal is. Also as a quick reminder if Gordon is suspended for a year it is a full 365 days, calendar year. Technically he is indefinitely suspended, not just for a year. At that point he can apply for reinstatement and isn’t guaranteed to be given such. His off the field behavior during the suspension will play a huge role.

This news takes Goodell out of the appeal picture but seems to be an all or nothing proposition for Gordon and the Browns. It is also likely, like the 2 Vikings case, that Gordon goes to court and plays until dealt with. In the Vikings case they weren’t suspended for 2.5 seasons.

What do you think of this new revelation?

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