By Jeffrey Swindoll
Last week, the NFL issued a one-year ban to Cleveland Browns receiver and ex-Baylor Bear Josh Gordon failing a team drug test, testing positive for alcohol. It is not the first time Gordon has been part of a drug violation. It has been something he has fought for all of his life, even before his professional career.
Gordon left Baylor after getting suspended indefinitely by the team for multiple drug violations.
He has a problem. We all know it. He even publicly admitted it in an open letter he published online on Thursday. He is deeply burdened with a drug problem, but he is also magnificently gifted.
Gordon was the receiving yards leader in the 2013-14 season, even with the two-game suspension he had to serve at the beginning of the season. A two-game jump was not enough for the rest of the NFL’s receivers to catch him.
With the chance of becoming one of the greatest receivers of his generation, possibly of all time, Gordon is playing with fire.
As the reports of his one-year ban from the NFL began circulating sports media sites and channels, TV personalities like Charles Barkley and Stephen A. Smith voiced their opinions about Gordon’s status.
Gordon took note of the media blitz and published an open letter specifically made out to Barkley and Smith. Gordon goes on to talk about how Barkley and Smith, along with the rest of those in sports media, don’t know him personally.
Their moral judgements were unfair in Gordon’s eyes because they do not know all that he has been through. Furthermore, he saw their comments as disingenuous because they have never shown interest in a personal relationship with him. That’s where it seems Gordon’s main problem lies, aside from the obvious drugs.
Granted, not all of the media is actually concerned with Gordon’s well-being. Their words may indeed be hollow. However, there is something in the comments from Barkley, Carter and Smith that could actually be meaningful for Gordon.
Instead of heeding the words of the many people have spoken out in support of him he chooses to quarrel with ex-players via the Internet about how they don’t understand where he’s coming from.
Could it be that some of the sports media members criticizing him do, in fact, understand the type of background he has? Could it also be that some of the media members criticizing him are also trying to assist him in changing his ways for the better?
I’m not so sure Gordon has considered their intentions or the value of the attention they have given him with their platform. I find that problematic for Gordon, an NFL player who is on the edge of losing the chance to millions upon millions of dollars playing professional football.
He doesn’t have his priorities straight and now he’s doing a bit of damage control for his moral reputation. I wish I could watch him every Sunday doing what he’s best at doing. The guy is incredible, but there are rules in the NFL and he has broken them over and over.