CLEVELAND- Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended 2 games for assaulting his wife. The suspension should have been longer and it should be no surprise if the NFL receives sharp criticism for not suspending Rice for more games.
Josh Gordon is facing a season long suspension for marijuana use. This is his third violation which usually leads to a season long suspension with no debate, no counter-arguments.
However, Rice’s suspension could open the door for leniency in Gordon’s case. He now has a viable defense on his side, which will likely be used as ammo for a shorter suspension.
The NFL will likely suspend Gordon for no less than half the season (8 games). Gordon needs time to go through rehabilitation which will not be an overnight project. No Browns fans or NFL fans in general should give much thought that Gordon can be back on the field in the first month of the season without any complications. This is a drug addiction that has lasted a very long time. He was suspended for drug use at Baylor. This is nothing new to him. Therefore, it is unreasonable to expect Gordon to be drug free as early as September or early October. It simply is not going to happen.
Ideally, Gordon should be suspended until November at the earliest. The NFL needs to think about what is in Gordon’s best interest and in the league’s best interest as well.
The NFL now has a black eye to deal with. It seems clear that following the mandate to the letter can no longer be done within reason. The Rice suspension has to be a determining factor in deciding how long Gordon will be suspended. It will be a huge public relations nightmare to follow the original thought process of sticking to the NFL guidelines that a player must be suspended a full season for a third violation of substance abuse.
Now as the decision looms closer to the fateful day of August 1st, fans and reporters everywhere have to wonder if a double standard will be set. Will Josh Gordon receive a fair suspension or will the NFL be up against a public relations wall?