The Curse of Josh Gordon (Part VII)
Updated: Aug 3, 2022
People are stupid.
I have seen some variation of this meme on AT LEAST a dozen websites. This specific variation is from the fools at Sports Savages.
According to ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi, Josh Gordon was the most "physically gifted" wide receiver he had ever seen. Gordon's 2013 season was magical and gave the league a fleeting glimpse of his greatness.
But then Josh got himself suspended in the 2014 season. I am a sports radio junkie and I remember the public debate over his suspension. Because Gordon had substance abuse issues in college, speculation was ripe as to why Gordon was suspended. Due to HIPAA and clauses in the NFLPA's collectively bargained contract, the NFL never disclosed why he was suspended except to say it was in reference to the league's substance abuse policy.
Both ESPN Cleveland and 92.3 The Fan reported that their sources close to JOSH GORDON, not the league, but the player himself, claimed that Josh was suspended due to second hand smoke, or, maybe, taking a single hit from a joint.
Cleveland fans were livid. But common sense should have told you that the NFL wouldn't want to suspend a potential star over traces of marijuana. The RUMOR did not come from the league.
Then, in 2017, Gordon admitted in GQ magazine that he was on a ton of drugs. He had drugs in his system "probably every game of my career." LeBron James even gave Gordon a platform to tell his story and the receiver shared his tales of "extensive drug use." Then James distanced himself from the troubled wide receiver.
Since 2017, Gordon has been picked up, and then later waived, by 3 teams that have won Super Bowls in the last decade, the Chiefs, the Seahawks, and the Patriots. You could argue that the Browns are a crappy organization, of course he did drugs, but the Patriots? The Chiefs waved Gordon in January, then resigned him to a reserve/future contract a month later. What's a reserve/future contract? According to SI: It "allows teams to sign players who weren't on the active roster but are candidates in which the team wants to keep around."
Does that sound like 30 year old Josh Gordon will be competing for the Chiefs' WR 1 position?
If Gordon was "just" a pothead, he could have had a career arc similar to Ricky Williams. You say Williams' career was cut short due to drugs, too? Uh, Williams was one of only 31 running backs in the history of the NFL that rushed for over 10,000 yards in their careers. Gordon only had 1 year of over a thousand yards receiving.
There's a big difference between using a little pot and Josh being the "Steve Howe of the NFL."
It is absurd that people still believe Gordon was singled out and suspended all those games for just a smidge of pot. Especially considering an estimated 90% of players smoke weed. (How did all those other players pass their drug tests when Gordon couldn't?)
I'm not saying Deshaun Watson is innocent or guilty in his specific case. I'm saying that his case went before an arbitrator and she laid out her decision in a 16 page report. There is no report on Gordon's drug use, simply what he said (or leaked) to the press. The NFL has never released Gordon's drug documents.
There's a reason for that, Gordon doesn't allow it.
Addendum 1 Day Later:
Listen, there's a reason we've been writing about this over and over since 2017. In 2018, Odell Beckham put some photos out on social media in bed with an Instagram model and, what appeared to be, a joint and cocaine.
Beckam, to my knowledge, wasn't suspended. (For that.) In order to be caught over and over and over for drugs in the NFL, you either have to be almost criminally reckless, or you don't really want to play football.