Yesterday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that a decision in the Josh Gordon appeal hearing could be handed down by the end of next week. While that time frame would mesh with the original one to three week interval proposed after the hearing concluded on August 4, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk opines that the entire process has been mishandled, and argues that the NFL needs to begin expediting suspension proceedings.
While Schefter noted that the delays in the case are being attributed to the transcribing process, Florio, a former lawyer, questions this excuse, as transcripts can be prepared “almost instantaneously.” Using current transcription technology, hearing officer Harold Henderson could have likely had a copy of the meeting’s notes on hand the moment the proceedings had concluded. Critical facts in the case (which Florio estimates comprise about 5% of any hearing) could have been clarified instantly for Henderson by listening to the audio recording of the examination.
Henderson, Florio continues, probably had a decent idea of his impending decision the day the hearing had ended. While a lengthy written judgement is to be expected, a simple, early statement either upholding or vacating Gordon’s suspension would have been best for all parties. If Gordon’s one-year ban isn’t announced until late August, it could put the start of his 2015 season at risk, as well, as he wouldn’t be able to properly prepare for next year. Given the fallout to Ray Rice‘s seemingly light two-game suspension for a domestic incident, it’s odd that the NFL hasn’t at least sped up the process as to let Gordon and the Browns plan out the next stages of his career.