CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon's well-written essay in The Cauldron lends some clarity to his recent suspension and blasts commentators who broadly categorize him as an alcoholic or drug addict.
But by making the distinction he’s neither of those things, he’s basically blaming his issues on being a 23-year-old with a few lapses in judgment. This means he has the worst luck in league history or he thinks readers are incredibly naive.
A DWI, three NFL suspensions and one team suspension in three years -- that’s a lot to pin on a capricious nature. Gordon is authoritative at the top of the story -- yes, I have a "problem" -- but teases the reader by not delving into that problem other than stating that he "messed up" and describing his rough upbringing in the Houston area.
Gordon isn’t making excuses for his behavior. It’s just that the explanations of his incidents with the league still require more details. Gordon hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt to ignore them. "Inadvertently" inhaling secondhand smoke and not knowing his zero-drinking stipulation might stretch into the first few days of the offseason don't seem like things that just happen. (If the second part is true, shame on Gordon’s camp for not reminding him 100 times over about the end date. Wonder how many of his teammates knew about the stipulation on the way to Vegas.) Missing team activities doesn’t just happen. There are rumblings from the team's office that Gordon's timeliness was an issue more than once late in 2014.
And it’s still unclear from Gordon's letter what concrete steps he plans to take to curb poor decision-making.
Good for Gordon for speaking out. He has every right to combat those who brand him as an NFL outcast. The letter strikes with conviction. You’re right, Josh, we don’t really know you. This letter helps, in spots.
But if your only "problem" is being young, that paints with the same broad strokes that your critics used on you. Perhaps Part II can dive deeper into this area.
After a growing number of incidents in three NFL seasons, Browns fans hoping for the best could use more to go off of here.
Sorry, guys, I wasn’t thinking, I’m only 23 -- that isn’t enough, especially when you start the letter throwing footballs at targets.
Fewer Charles Barkley rants, more energy pointed toward staying suspension-free.