The world we live in is a very grey place. Few things land in the black or white, the yes or no. Rules and laws happen to be one of those things.
Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon is about to find this out the hard way, or at least, he should.
Gordon has once again found himself in the commissioner’s office appealing a suspension that is about to be levied upon him. For the second time, Gordon broke a cut and dry rule written in the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
During a drug test, Gordon provided two samples randomly labeled “Test A” and “Test B.” The NFL rule states if a sample tests above a certain number then they will move on to the second sample. If the second sample is above a different, lower number, the test is failed. In the case of Josh Gordon, his samples were above the “legal limit.” It was close, and oddly enough, had “Test B” been tested first Gordon would not have failed the test.
The NFL’s policy similar to the Department of Transportation’s rule on driving under the influence. If the drivers blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08, the driver is determined to be impaired, and will be cited. Gordon essentially blew a 0.081.
Gordon’s lawyers are claiming the testing process is flawed. They say Gordon is a marked man and has been forced to take more tests than most, and they also are using the increasingly popular “second-hand smoke” defense.
It’s all garbage, and the league shouldn’t listen to a single word of any of these arguments.
Where it gets interesting is when the case of Ray Rice is compared to that of Gordon.
There’s not a rational human being on the planet that believes what Josh Gordon did is eight times worse than the transgressions of Ray Rice.
But, as odd as it sounds, there’s no real way to quantify domestic abuse. There’s no form of measurement to judge the crime. Therefore, unfortunately for the court of public opinion, the two “crimes” are not comparable.
Gordon’s attorneys might be right in claiming the policy is out-of-date, because it is, however, the rules of the substance abuse policy are not hard to understand.
When it comes to “foreign substances” the league has an incredibly clear line you cannot cross. However, if a player has a run-in with the law, it comes down to the commissioner’s discretion.
The Ray Rice suspension was incredibly light, and the reasoning behind it from the NFL offices was almost laughable. But the fact remains, the commissioner followed the letter of the law and handed down the suspension he saw fit.
Meanwhile, Josh Gordon is a repeat offender who clearly failed a drug test. Sure it was close. Maybe has been over tested. It might have even been second-hand smoke (seriously doubt it), but the numbers don’t lie. Gordon has done this before and he’s now done it again. It’s time he pays the price just like every player who broke the rules before.
The NFL has to take a serious look in the mirror over some of these rules, but there’s no way it should set Josh Gordon free.