The Josh Gordon saga has ended and not in the way the Cleveland Browns or their fans were hoping for. Instead of Gordon getting off with a reduced sentence, or no suspension at all, he is now suspended indefinitely from the NFL.
It is an important to note that based on the rules of the Drug Policy that Gordon wouldn’t just be for just a season. Instead Gordon is suspended for at least 365 days before he is able to apply to return to the NFL. During that time he is not eligible to be with the team, working with the team or communicate with the team. He is not guaranteed to be readmitted into the league upon the completion of the 365 days. Roger Goodell will have the ability to keep him suspended indefinitely.
Yet, according to NFL.com, the league’s statement does not match up directly with this:
“Appeals officer Harold Henderson has upheld the suspension for the 2014 NFL season of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The suspension is effective immediately,” the league said Wednesday in a statement.
Is it possible that the league is only suspending Gordon for the 2014 season and that he can return to the team following the completion of said season? The fact that they used the term “upheld” likely means that their communication is accurate but not complete. Gordon is likely suspended for the full calendar year.
It is what made the entire Gordon process so frustrating to Gordon, the Browns and to fans. We were all aware of Gordon’s possible suspension on the second day of the draft. His appeal wasn’t hear till 2 months later and then a few weeks after that the results are in. If the NFL had been more expedient with his process Gordon would not have missed next year’s Training Camp as well.
It is likely that Gordon, and his lawyers, sue the NFL to try to win their case. As we discussed earlier the Matt Prater case, where the kicker only got suspended for 4 games, could play a role in the Gordon lawsuit. As was the case with the Star Caps lawsuit with the league, Gordon would likely be able to play until the legal issues play out in court.
Browns fans, what are you thinking today?