The Josh Gordon saga may have finally concluded. After over 4 months of waiting, with news of the suspension first breaking in early May, it appears the ordeal has reached its last resolution. Following the NFL Players Associations' approval of the league's new drug policy, Gordon's suspension will be reduced to 10 games total, which includes the one game already served, according to multiple reports.
The new policy is to be applied "retroactively." But the results of such application leaves observers with a lot more questions than answers about exactly what the language in the policy allowed for this so-called reduction, considering the test Gordon had been appealing, the entire process of which was during the new league year, was for only 16 nanograms, a number not considered a violation under the new 35ng/ml threshold.
As first reported by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, citing a league source, this 10 game suspension is apparently for his "fourth violation" of substance abuse. How exactly it's Gordon's fourth violation, or even a violation at all, is left entirely unanswered in the report.
Even less tact, the source reportedly stressed that Gordon would receive "no special treatment" from the league. Meanwhile, the NFL is still reeling from the fallout of an incident far worse than any number of THC metabolites could possibly amount to, considering NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gave the sort of special treatment to Ray Rice that equates to only a two-game suspension for beating his then-fiance unconscious and getting caught on camera dragging her body out of an elevator without any regard for her well-being whatsoever.
The rest of that video wasn't even necessary to make clear just how out-of-whack Goodell's priorities are, but making matters even more disturbing is knowing that full video made it's way to NFL offices anyway, according to a report by the Associated Press. So at best, Goodell is grossly incompetent and indifferent toward domestic violence, likely preferring not to see the video. At worst, Goodell saw it, knew how damaging it was, and has been since actively trying to bury the situation.
At this time, it is not known as to which of those two possible scenarios are true. But it doesn't matter. It shouldn't have ever taken the full video to realize Goodell cared more about punishing a marijuana violation than a player knocking out a woman and dragging her body around.
Regardless of whether this is Gordon's fourth or second violation, a distinction that you'd be right to assume is incredibly important to the suspension here, his appeal should have been legitimately heard even under the old policy, considering just how slim of a margin one in a billion really is.
The appeal has been discussed at length here before. The one thing that was certain knowing the details of Gordon's case was that he probably didn't actually smoke marijuana. False positives in drug testing are very real. Gordon was a former habitual user in college, which made him even more prone to that possibility. In the NFL, he passed 70 prior tests before one nanogram flared up above the already minuscule threshold in just one of the two samples.
So in the previous NFL policy, if you were a habitual user in college like Gordon, your livelihood for a year could quite literally depend on a coin flip. This was in the same league that would bury their head in the sand about a prominent player's domestic violence issues as long as video of it didn't go public. In fact, they may have just actively avoided that video.
Now, it's the league that seemingly arbitrarily found 10 games to be an appropriate punishment based on how the NFL weighs all of these issues.