Cleveland (WOIO) - Josh Gordon is not a victim. We can debate whether pot is more harmful than alcohol, call the NFL's policy on marijuana 'Draconian', and compare Gordon's 16-game ban to the ridiculously light two-game suspension Ravens running back Ray Rice received for knocking out his woman, and it still won't change this fact: Gordon is a multiple offender, knew the league policy, was well aware of the risk, and still once again violated that policy. He deserves what he got.
Of course, there's plenty of frustration, if not blame, to go around. The NFL shredded the 'reasonable' timeline that the Players Union requires by dragging this out almost to Opening Day. And the Browns, while noting their "strong feelings" towards the league's lengthy process, certainly expected to lose Gordon for a decent amount of time, yet did nothing to sign or draft a big-time playmaking wide receiver.
But it's Gordon who bears the brunt (not to be confused with 'blunt') of this mess, because his actions have set his teammates up for failure. The offense, saddled with new formations and tricky terminology, was already stuck in neutral with Gordon on the field. How's it going to look without him?
Gordon will find out from afar. He's not allowed in the facility until he is reinstated, which won't be until after the 2014 season, barring an injunction that allows him to keep playing. Some are concerned that cutting Gordon off from his support system, and daily routine, will only lead to more problems. That's possible. But the structure provided by a team didn't cause him to curb his habits while in college, and the promise of NFL riches hasn't helped keep him straight in the pros.
Maybe this will. Either way, the NFL made the right call.