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Last week, OnDeckEr.com posted to YouTube an extensive interview with suspended Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon, his first since the NFL upheld a yearlong suspension for violating the drug policy.
It took a while for anyone to notice the interview, because as of Wednesday afternoon, each of the eight videos the interview was split into had less than 100 views. It was an interesting and illuminating interview with the All-Pro, who dealt with a lot of topics on his past and future.
One of the strongest moments came when the off-camera interviewer asked Gordon if he had a drug problem. Gordon has dealt with positive tests for marijuana in college and the NFL, the latest of which led to his suspension. He reiterated during the OnDeckEr.com interview that his latest positive test was because of second-hand smoke.
"Do I believe I have a drug problem? Definitely not," Gordon told OnDeckEr.com. "In this case, I was exposed to it from second hand [smoke]. And prior to, I had been drug free and staying that way. This incident has been causing a backlash of negative attention and negative media, of me being an addict or a junkie or using drugs terribly too much. Which is definitely not the case."
(All eight parts of the interview can be found here.)
To back up that claim, Gordon said on the interview that he went to Cliffside Malibu, a rehabilitation center in California, after he was told of his positive test. And Gordon said the center's determination was he wasn't an addict.
"I chose to go on my own accord, my own thoughts and thought it would be beneficial for me to go out to Cliffside in Malibu, Calif., and seek out some help and see what could be done," Gordon said. "They assessed me and they made their diagnosis, and said I wasn’t addicted to anything and I didn’t have any drug problem or anything like that. Still, I wanted to stay and figure out anything that I could do."
Gordon said he did the therapy and the groups there even after he was told he wasn't an addict, and enjoyed meeting the people there and getting a different perspective on life.
Gordon also had some very interesting comments on the NFL upholding his suspension after an appeal hearing. The NFL has repeatedly said that a player is responsible for anything that goes into his body that triggers a positive test. Gordon made it seem like the league understood his excuse about second-hand smoke causing the positive test (he said during the interview he barely tested over the threshold that triggers the positive result) and was sympathetic toward his case but the league had no choice but to uphold his suspension.
"Honestly, I wasn’t too surprised because I know the NFL has a lot of guidelines and rules they need to follow and they have to abide by, and they’re definitely strict in what they do," Gordon said. "In my case, it was bending them in a direction they just weren’t allowed to go. Not that they didn’t want to, or didn’t believe me. I feel as though it just didn’t fit for them. I respect their decision they had to uphold their rules and policies and their law. I just appreciate them for hearing me out."
The NFL and NFLPA have been negotiating a new drug policy this week, and there have been many reports that it could lead to Gordon and others being reinstated from their suspensions. Gordon didn't address that possibility in the interview, but spoke as if he expected to be out the whole year, and was asked what would happen when he returned.
"I see myself in a Cleveland Browns uniform, and a return for Josh Gordon," he told OnDeckEr.com. "Hopefully this time, the biggest and the best I’ve ever been. Really looking forward to giving the people what they deserve, not letting anyone down, myself included. And exceeding their expectations."
Gordon is just 23, and he sounded mature in the interview. He thanked the Browns for standing beside him. He didn't blame the NFL for anything, saying he appreciated that they heard his appeal case. He spoke about how so few players have come back and had a positive result after being suspended a year, and when he first heard about the suspension he was "definitely upset, heartbroken ... you get emotional, you get depressed." Throughout the interview with OnDeckEr.com he sounded like a young man who was well aware that he's close to losing his career with any more mistakes, and wanted to avoid that.
"Really I think it’s just being more careful, being more concerned with my well being and my surroundings," Gordon said. "Before, I was very careless toward it because nothing really seemed to happen. It seemed as though everything was all good all the time, and everything seemed to work out.
"I’m glad I took the opportunity to fall down and to look at myself and see what’s been happening. To really try to find yourself and make yourself become a better person."
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