Best-case scenario for Josh Gordon could be eight games

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Josh Gordon tosses the ball back after catching a ball during drills

Josh Gordon tosses the ball back after catching a ball during drills

All that’s left to figure out is what the reaction will be around the league. There are so many details out there about the Josh Gordon situation now, that all eyes and judgments are squarely on the NFL in the wake of the Ray Rice suspension and the pending Jim Irsay discipline. None of these things are totally related, mind you, but this is the narrative because the punishments all emanate from the same office. Now, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com is reporting that eight games might be the best-case scenario for Gordon.

“… If he wins, he’ll resume his career without interruption, and if he loses, he’ll be banished from the team and the league for at least a year.

But the two sides can also hammer out a settlement, and that’s what the Browns are hoping for. Realistically, the best-case scenario would probably be about eight games, a source said.”

When I was on Les Levine’s show last night we were talking about if I believe the second-hand smoke argument and I do, actually. Once I heard that Josh Gordon had passed somewhere around 70 tests in and around this problematic one, it seems more than possible that he was exposed to second-hand smoke.

[Also See: Everything you need to know about the Josh Gordon saga: WFNY FAQs]

That might not matter to the NFL’s policy though. Being in the vicinity of marijuana smoke is an issue for a guy who is under strict testing guidelines. The NFL holds players responsible for what’s in their bodies and even if I think that’s heavy-handed, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a guy to control what’s in his body. If a guy can make an honest mistake in GNC with supplements and be held accountable, then another guy who might be driving around with someone smoking marijuana can also be held accountable.

Operative word here being “can.”

Obviously my feelings on the matter differ, but I do understand the NFL’s policy. Regardless, if Josh Gordon gets eight games or more, the outcry is going to be deafening because of all the surrounding factors and the NFL’s recent history handing down punishments.

 

  • Ezzie Goldish

    I can’t see how 8 games would make sense. If he’s guilty, he’s going to get a year with everything else. If it’s secondhand smoke which the NFL claims it doesn’t want to punish for, especially with all the other factors, I can’t see how the NFL can punish him at all (especially in light of the Ray Rice aspect, though truth be told I’m guessing the NFL doesn’t believe that’s relevant at all).

    I also wonder (and I wondered this last year as well) how the NFL can even adjust sentences vs. the CBA. The CBA is pretty explicit about the punishments, is it not?

    Ultimately his defense must have been a combination of faulty testing due to the variation between the samples, plus “look at how low, it was clearly secondhand smoke, he was tested X days before and X days after and those were clean”. Either that’s enough or it’s not to be ‘innocent’, but I don’t see this whole ‘compromise’ idea.

  • BenRM

    I agree that the best defense likely goes to the testing. Not only did the two concurrently retrieved samples different, but they appear incongruous with samples taken before and after the fact. Then, you can make the “A & B designations are entirely random” arguments.

    It may be enough to encourage a compromise, which I’m sure Gordon would accept.

  • Guest

    Large or (relatively) small suspension?

    I think the biggest factor is that the NFL will ask which outcome will turn off fans/hit harder in the pocketbooks long term? (My prediction is Gordon will play this season….maybe miss 10-12 games.) NFL seems to be in a catch 22: a large suspension implies that a violent 1st offence (criminal if it were you or I) against another person is much less severe a transgression than a nonviolent (but still against the NFL imposed rules, and illegal in 96% of the states) transgression. Either way, it will be entertaining to watch events transpire.

    NFL’s best out may be to review their penalties for violent behaviour first chance they can (next offseason?) and revise their policy for violent offences.

  • Bob

    NFL’s best out might be to punt the case against Gordon’s legal counsel and conclude the test was flawed, than revise the league policies on violent (vs. pot/other non-violent transgressions) as soon as possible (would that be next offseason?).

  • Bob

    Also, it doesn’t make sense to have two samples of liquid differ by so much (16 vs 13.6). You’d expect mostly homogenous fluids to mix evenly. Anyone aware of biology going on here?

  • Ezzie Goldish

    And also on ng/ml. I could see them punting this one, raising the threshold slightly but saying they will not differentiate between first- and second-hand smoke because there’s no good way to know, and from now on not even notify what the ng/ml amount was in the B sample.

  • mgbode

    It’s pretty simple. You pee into a container. You pour the contents into 2 separate containers. We are talking about samples so miniscule that unless you had properly homogenized the solution/pee, then there is going to be a difference though small.

    ng/ml —- nano-gram per milliliter. Each ng is 1 billionth of a gram in one thousandth of a liter.

  • mgbode

    They were already looking at raising the threshold. In fact, that was on the table at the last CBA, but the NFL wanted to get HGH testing and they used the mostly out-dated threshold (as others have raised theirs) as a bargaining chip to get it done. The NFLPA refused to budge on HGH.

    And, let us not forget that Justin Blackmon is out there too. The NFL cannot just lighten the sentence on Gordon without possible ramifcations on Blackmon (though he was less able to fight in appeals, so the odds are that he had less of a case?).

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Unless Blackmon could have argued either second-hand smoke or faulty testing, hard to say that’s the case.

  • mgbode

    I don’t get the Ray Rice suspension playing in and I highly doubt the NFL will allow it. Let us not forget that the police didn’t charge Rice, which handcuffed the NFL to how much they could do. Now, I know there is the video and I agree that he is guilty, but when Goodell starts suspending people for seasons when they aren’t even charged with a crime, then there is also an issue there.

  • mgbode

    not much was released about his case. how close was his testing to the limit? how many tests did he pass? what were the details?

    but, you have to believe that the NFL cannot just punt on Gordon without there being a case for Blackmon, which is why there will likely be a middle ground met here.

  • eldaveablo

    I really think upping the ng/ml kills two birds with one stone. First, it just needs to be raised. The current level is a joke. Second, by raising it, you kind of eliminate the reasonable second hand smoke defense. No one could reasonably make this defense unless the ng/ml threshold is super low.

    Although, I think the bigger issue is that the NFL needs to re-examine how harmful this drug truly is. Is it really so much worse than the painkillers these guys are given on a regular basis? Just seems backward to me. Maybe i’ve lived in Colorado too long :)

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Blackmon’s case is already over, so not sure that matters. He can’t use the (technically private) arguments from another case for himself. The changing of the threshold would a later, separate issue.

  • bossman09

    The difference in this case is 2.5 thousandths of a Liter. That’s fantastic and horrific for Gordon. Ponder that on the Tree of Woe.

  • Bob

    true…..but I’d still expect a homogeneously mixed solution to be more evenly distributed….even for quantities as small as ng/mL. To put into perspective, (as a back of the envelope calc: let’s assume for the sake of argument that Josh Gordon is 100 kg (the same mass as 100L of water) a fatal dose of cyanide to a 100 kg person is around 150 mg, compared to the measured 1.6 mg of whatever the test measured for).

    http://xkcd.com/1260/

  • bossman09

    If MKC is reporting it, you can expect it to be wrong. The one think we can count on is that Gordon is going to be suspended for the DUI and for a test violation. The question is how much but I don’t think anyone knows until Godell thows the dart.

  • Guest

    *2.5 millionths of a litter

  • Garry_Owen

    Gordon wasn’t caught or charged by the police, either, but the NFL does not see itself handcuffed by that. Gordon’s hot piss test and the casino video could be seen as the same thing: evidence of a wrong-doing. Indeed, Rice’s circumstances are much worse, as the video is evidence of an actual crime, which the piss test is not.

    Now, I agree that the Rice suspension will likely not play into Gordon’s (and it probably shouldn’t), but it’s not for the reason you cite. It’s just because the NFL has a drug nerve and a domestic violence blindspot.

  • mgbode

    completely separate issue. Gordon was caught because he was tested by the NFL that was agreed to in the CBA.

  • Garry_Owen

    Correct. That’s the drug nerve. But the fact that Rice was never criminally charged has nothing to do with the variance in the two cases.

  • Scott Johnson

    I agree, but how often do innocent people take a plea bargain?

  • Ezzie Goldish

    But in this case the league doesn’t need to offer such a thing. They either say guilty or innocent.

  • mgbode
  • cmm13

    I don’t need to be charged with a crime to violate an HR policy at work.

    I haven’t read the current NFL CBA/HR policy but there should be something in there regarding acts of violence.

  • cmm13

    uptick for the Conan reference.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If he was guilty he’d be getting an indefinite suspension I do believe not just a year. Because of the possible errors in testing procedures or collection or both along with Ray Rice being suspended just two games for a far worse incident I see some sort of compromise. It’s why I originally predicted 8 games but am hoping for 4.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Then Rice shouldn’t have been suspended at all. I’m sure there has to be some sort of morals clause though in contracts so even if Rice wasn’t charged by the authorities the NFL could use a morals clause. I’m just spit balling here.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Me thinks u got a thing for MKC!

  • nj0

    would might could probably

    That’s some good work, Lou.

  • Garry_Owen
  • Kev

    Craig, keep in mind that in many states, weed is either straight up legal, or pretty much decriminalized. That means that we are all more and more prone to random exposure. Especially young people who frequent clubs, house parties, etc. it’s completely legal to do all those things, and I think it’s overly simplistic to say he is fully responsible for what goes into his body. Home boy’s gotta breathe. Anyway, it seems very clear to me that the threshold needs to be raised, plain and simple. Raise it to the IOC level. Whether the NFL does the smart thing, who knows..

  • whosevelt

    I agree that it’s overly simplistic to hold him responsible for what goes into his body. First of all, is it clear what is forbidden? I.e. is it the marijuana use that is forbidden, and the test is evidence of use; or is it the presence of marijuana in the bloodstream that is forbidden? Bad supplements are similar in some ways but there’s a difference in whether the player intentionally ingested something that was unintentionally illegal, and a player unintentionally ingesting something that he knew was illegal.

    In that vein, what is the appeal about? Is he trying to prove facts, i.e. that he never knowingly smoked marijuana? If he is, it sounds like he has a good case based on the rumors of 70 passed tests and one really marginal one. Or is he appealing on the nature of the rule, i.e. that it’s unfair to penalize him the same way you’d penalize an intentional user? That puts him at the mercy of the NFL, doesn’t it? He’s guilty and hoping for leniency.

  • Ryan

    Rice was charged with a crime. He was charged with a felony, actually. He accepted a plea agreement with the prosecutors that the charge would be dismissed if he completed a pretrial diversion program. So, Rice’s action was a criminal offense and did prompt a criminal charge.

    Source: http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10960822/ray-rice-baltimore-ravens-accepted-pretrial-diversion-program

  • cmm13

    RYAN WITH THE WIN.

  • saggy

    it’s gotta be either indefinite or zero. either his defense works, and he skates, or he is guilty.

    As Harv has said here a gazillion times, it’s an “indefinite” suspension, not necessarily a year. So 8 games isn’t exactly a compromise if you don’t know how to measure the “indefinite” portion.

  • saggy

    if the messed up samples argument wins, they can’t suspend him at all. at least in my opinion.

  • saggy

    Ryno!

  • saggy

    Let’s get this straight:

    the MEDIA at large have said that Gordon may argue second-hand smoke (among MANY other things). But the quotes from (attributed to) Gordon’s defense team say they are arguing faulty testing, which seems FAR FAR FAR more likely to win the day, considering nobody has ever won on a second-hand smoke plea, and that faulty testing would scrap the whole case.

  • saggy

    by the way…..I’m in DC now. Went to a place called Georgetown Wine and Spirits. They have a TON of Great Lakes beer. The guy at the store (who seemed pretty darn knowledgeable) said that the GL Oktoberfest is the best Oktoberfest in America. I got a sixer and I’ll let you know!

  • saggy

    so I’m assuming that these cartoons are all supposed to be Mary Kay? funny funny.

  • saggy

    ya know….i think you gots a point.

  • WFNY_DP

    Roethlisberger was never charged, either, and he got a six game suspension that was ultimately dropped to four. And that was for suspicion of rape, so it’s in the ballpark of knocking your fiancee out in an elevator.

  • WFNY_DP

    Every night of the 2007 MLB playoffs was Rotolo’s Pizza and GL Oktoberfest for me. It was great until Game 6 of the ALCS. Then I just started feeling fat.