It’s been a little over a week since we heard that a decision on Josh Gordon would be made in about one to three weeks, so an announcement from the league on the Browns wideout could come any day now. Facing a year-long suspension for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Gordon and his representatives made the case at his appeal hearing earlier in training camp that the penalty was unwarranted, and that Gordon’s positive test – which barely passed the league’s strict threshold, was a result of second-hand smoke.
Given the way the league’s appeal system works, hearing officer Harold Henderson will have to make an all-or-nothing judgment on Gordon, either upholding the initial year-long suspension or wiping out the ban entirely, allowing the Browns receiver to play in Week 1 and beyond. As such, it was expected that the NFL and NFLPA would attempt to negotiate a settlement, perhaps reaching a compromise that saw Gordon’s suspension reduced, but not altogether eliminated.
As of last Thursday, no settlement talks between the two sides had taken place. However, there’s no guarantee that’s still the case, five days later. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report indicated yesterday that the league would “like to find a way” for Gordon to play for at least a portion of the 2014 season, in part because a year-long ban for a transgression most fans don’t view as significant would create bad PR for the NFL coming so closely on the heels of Ray Rice‘s modest two-game penalty for an ugly domestic abuse incident.
From the perspective of Browns fans – and fans of the NFL in general – a season without Gordon, who racked up an incredible 1,646 receiving yards in just 14 games last season, would be a huge disappointment, but there isn’t a ton of wiggle room when it comes to the league’s policy relating to substance abuse. So a settlement may be Gordon’s best chance of seeing the field this year.
What do you think? Will Gordon’s suspension eventually be upheld, eliminated, or reduced?