Cleveland Browns: Despite Recent News, Josh Gordon Appeal Still an Uphill Battle

By Casey Drottar
Getty Images
Getty Images

Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon is meeting with the NFL this Friday with hopes of successfully appealing his latest league infraction. Facing a year-long suspension for yet another violation of the league’s drug policy, Gordon decided to lawyer up and see if he could at least reduce the pending suspension.

It was announced yesterday Gordon hired attorney Maurice Suh to help defend him in the appeal meeting. Suh is famous for helping Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman win a suspension appeal in 2012, and is likely hoping he can continue his winning streak and help the Browns receiver salvage whatever he can from this upcoming season.

However, unless Suh has a bulletproof argument primed and ready to go, Gordon is likely still looking at a very hefty suspension regardless of who he has in his corner.

There are still a few things which could help the troubled receiver’s case on Friday. For one, details are still a little foggy in terms of what actually happened with his latest failed test. While it was initially reported Gordon tested positive for marijuana, rumors surfaced a few weeks later that the issue may not have been a failed test, but a missed one. Today, word came out there were complications in the test he failed, and Gordon will attempt to use the defense of second-hand smoke causing his positive test results.

The problem, though, is there are too many things stacked against Gordon right now. You have a second failed drug test in two seasons, regardless of how it happened. You have his speeding ticket received in May soon after, when he also had someone in his car caught with marijuana. And then you have his DWI arrest over the Fourth of July weekend. Instead of laying low once the reports surfaced of his pending suspension, Gordon proceeded to get into more trouble with the law, something which will hardly help his case.

Some believe an argument should be made regarding the recent ruling for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was suspended just two games for knocking his then-fiancé unconscious. Unfortunately, as utterly appalling it was for the NFL to slap Rice on the wrist for such an ugly incident, this isn’t likely to help Gordon’s case.

The league has to look at the occurrences separately. In Rice, they have a disgusting event, but also a first-time offense. With Gordon, the NFL is dealing with a player who has been reprimanded for similar issues at both the professional and college level. He knew the rules, broke them last year, and then possibly broke them again this offseason. This, plus the additional legal issues Gordon ran into this summer all add up to create an uphill battle when it comes to shrinking his suspension.

Who knows how this all turns out come Friday. In Suh, Gordon has a solid lawyer on his side, one with recent success in similar scenarios. That said, it won’t be an easy fight by any means. Despite the help he’s bringing into his appeal meeting, along with recent news regarding the positive test, it’ll still be very surprising if the NFL goes lenient with Gordon’s final ruling.

Casey Drottar is a Cleveland sportswriter for Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook

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