The report came down in early May that Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon faced a one-year suspension from the NFL for violating its substance-abuse policy. Almost four months and one appeal hearing later, the NFL's decision never changed.
Gordon, the NFL's leader in receiving yardage last year and an NFL first-team All-Pro, will be banned for a year. The suspension is for a calendar year but it can be reevaluated after the season, the NFL said.
“I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans," Gordon said in a statement through the NFLPA. "I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing officer didn’t exercise better discretion and judgment in my case.
"I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team, and the Cleveland Browns staff.”
The decision also included that Gordon can't be at team functions.
Gordon has tested positive for marijuana multiple times, which is what triggered the year-long suspension for the latest positive test.
The question now is if Gordon tries to challenge the NFL's decision legally. That's what Kevin and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings and Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints did in the StarCaps case, after they were suspended for taking a banned diuretic. They were suspended in 2008 and fought it until 2011. The league's marijuana policy has come under criticism lately, especially after Baltimore's Ray Rice was suspended just two games for a domestic violence incident. Gordon had argued that the positive test was a result of second-hand smoke. He also planned to cite testing irregularities, because the A sample was below the threshold for a positive test, but the B sample was barely over. The B sample was tested first.
NFL Network's Albert Breer hinted that Gordon's representatives are considering legal options.
The case took a long time to come to a resolution. It's possible it's not quite done yet, either.
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