Here we are in the year 2017, otherwise known as the third year of Josh Gordon’s prison sentence. The unfair battle against Gordon has been well documented and the cries for his freedom have been heard louder than Mel Gibson’s last word in “Braveheart,” yet he still remains out of the NFL. We could have predicted Goodell would stand firm on his policy shouting “you shall not pass” to anybody who tried to sneak by him with a nugget of marijuana, but the thing we couldn’t have predicted comes from Gordon’s side. He’s squeaky clean and ready to make an impact in the league.
The argument doesn’t have to be beaten to death like the league’s war against marijuana, but the situation still needs to be brought to light once again. Josh Gordon, one of the league’s best receivers has been essentially banished over the past few years for recreational vices such as weed and alcohol. It’s something you can find on pretty much any college campus or around a ton of NFL athletes, yet you still haven’t been able to see Gordon in pads on Sundays in over 1,000 days.
It's been 1,000 days since suspended #Browns WR Josh Gordon has last played a regular season game in the NFL.. Wow..
— Damon Kecman (@DownWithDamon) September 14, 2017
Making a player sit out that long is completely absurd considering his absence isn’t caused by PEDs, assault, domestic violence, or a number of different crimes that are more accepted by the league, but he did make the NFL look like a joke. No matter what the crime is, repeating your violation that many times is a huge slap in the face. Just look at the man’s timeline since he set the league ablaze in more ways than one.
There’s no reason to claim he’s innocent at this point, but to claim he’s rehabilitated is a different story.
Following what feels like his 150th incident involving drugs or alcohol, Josh Gordon checked into rehab, and stayed there. It wasn’t for a few hours or a few days, but months.
Josh Gordon will exit a 90 day rehab tomorrow and plans to reapply. Once he submits the application.. (1/3)
— Damon Kecman (@DownWithDamon) September 20, 2017
The only problem with his 90-day rehab? It wasn’t true. It was longer than that, according to Josh Gordon himself and the snapchat story he posted just a few days ago.
— Damon Kecman (@DownWithDamon) September 21, 2017
Now this presents a different case for Gordon entirely. After sitting out for a number of seasons, checking himself into rehab, and remaining in rehab for over 100 days presents a problem the league hasn’t had regarding his comeback yet.
That’s the problem with a witch hunt like the one Goodell is leading against marijuana users. Anytime you’re running around looking for the criminal, the best part is the chase. You think these are fun with the “witch” in this situation accepts their wrongdoings and takes punishment? No way. It leads Goodell and company with no choice but to ease up on his attack.
We’ve already seen what happens in cases like this thanks to Martavis Bryant. Bryant, another wide receiver who has a love for the sticky green saw the NFL crack down on him after violating the league’s substance abuse yet again, and suspended him for a full year. Instead of sitting around and pretending like it was a button he could simply press to stop from breaking the rules again, Bryant went to rehab. He may have missed the entire 2016 season, but the process of rehabilitation gave the league no choice but to give him another chance.
Granted, Gordon has been suspended many more times than Bryant so he could have had a lighter sentence because he truly deserved it, or this could be the key to appeasing Roger Goodell and the rest of the league. Committing the rehab for an extended period of time doesn’t exactly mean you’re clean as a whistle and you’ll never relapse again, but it does mean you’re doing everything in your power to move forward in the right direction.
All the comeback needed was for Flash Gordon to resurface, which we finally saw today.
— Damon Kecman (@DownWithDamon) September 27, 2017
“First day out” makes it sound like a prison sentence rather than rehab, but at this point, that’s what you can consider it for Gordon. He’s been locked out of the league, unable to get back in, and now has served his time.
Rumors swirled around that Gordon would apply for reinstatement the minute he got out of rehab, but we truly don’t know for sure as of yet. For all we know, he’s done torching defenders and is just another “what if” story we’ll all tell our kids one day while smoking marijuana because it will likely be legal by then.
What we do know is that he finally gave us a real reason to actually believe his suspension should be lifted.
It’s more than just hoping the Browns actually have talent on offense or wishing you had the chance to pick up a superstar wideout on your waiver wire in order to win your fantasy league. It’s about Gordon finally giving Goodell a tough decision to make about continuing his suspension.
The commissioner either gives Gordon his millionth chance and risks looking like an even bigger fool, or he claims that Gordon is too far gone and sets the precedent for players who are trying to overcome their problems and return to football. Either way, the ball is finally out of Gordon’s hands for the first time in 1,000 days. That’s gotta make him feel just as good as any weed he’s smoked in a long, long time.