We found out recently that Josh Gordon hired Richard Sherman’s lawyer to help handle his appeal with the NFL. In that case Maurice Suh called into question the specimen collection process and created doubt around the “he-said, he-said” case between the player and the collector. Now, Pro Football Talk is reporting what Josh Gordon’s strategy heading into the appeal on August 1. No surprise, the argument will once again center on the sample.
In the NFL, drug tests are split into two samples. They test one and then depending on the result test the second to double check. Here’s what PFT has to say.
For Gordon, the “A” bottle showed a concentration of 16 ng/ml, only one nanogram per milliliter above the limits of 15. The “B” bottle showed a concentration of 13.6 ng/ml — less than the threshold.
But because the “A” bottle was labeled “A” and not “B” and because the “B” bottle was labeled “B” and not “A”, the end result is a positive and a minimum one-year banishment from the NFL. Flip the bottles when it’s time to apply the labels, and Gordon isn’t facing a suspension.
The really interesting thing to me was what PFT stated before these details: Josh Gordon has passed at least 70 drug tests according to PFT’s source and was really close to passing this test as well. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Gordon’s legal team is hinging their argument on the stated inconsistencies in addition to the potential for the test being skewed by second-hand smoke.
We will see how effective these defenses are. For Gordon, the stakes are high as he faces the road that Justin Blackmon has traveled with an indefinite ban requiring application for reinstatement. Josh Gordon and the Browns would rather see him win a fight over the sample collection process (and the potential cause) regardless of how minute the technicality might be.
Then again, even as Josh Gordon has passed over 70 tests, he’s always one test away from finding himself out.