According to a source cited by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Josh Gordon passed at least 70 drug tests during the past year. All came back clean, except for one that “barley generated a positive.”
What does that all mean?
When the NFL collects urine samples, the collector takes two cups of urine. One cup is labeled “A,” and the other cup is labeled “B”. Unfortunately for Josh Gordon, lady luck wasn’t riding shotgun at the test.
By a 50-50 chance, one of the urine samples was designated as cup “A.” It was tested and showed a concentration of 16 ng/ml, only one nanogram per milliliter above the limits of 15. The other cup was designated cup “B,” and it showed a concentration of 13.6 ng/ml, which is less than the threshold.
But because cup “A” was tested first, the league was prepared to issue a minimum one-year suspension. If, in some random twist of fate, the collector would have labeled cup “A” as “B,” and “B” as “A,” this wouldn’t be news, because Gordon would have passed, no questions asked.
As Florio put it: “Flip the bottles when it’s time to apply the labels, and Gordon isn’t facing a suspension.”
Gordon will argue that the failed test was a result of “second-hand smoke,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Factory’s Co-Editor Jared Mueller was on the collection side of drug testing for years in Ohio in his work as a counselor. He tweeted that the second test verification is vital to Gordon’s case, and that if two tests contradict, another sample is usually taken.
If 2 tests contradict often another sample collected. For THC halflife is 21 to 30 days for most so should be in system still if quick.
— Jared K Mueller (@JaredKMueller) July 29, 2014
While a lot of Browns fans are encouraged they may get to see Gordon on the field in 2014, some in the media are weary.
NFL personality Benjamin Allbright said Browns fans shouldn’t overestimate Gordon’s chance of appeal.
Gordon has to prove negligence or malfeasance in handling of his samples caused positive test. Tough to do if tester followed procedure.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 29, 2014
Others, including Mike Krupka of Dawgs By Nature, believe the NFL doesn’t “have a leg to stand on.”
NFL doesn't have a leg to stand on IMO. 70 passed tests? 1 test that's "murky" at the VERY, VERY best? #Browns
— Mike Krupka (@MikeKrupka) July 29, 2014
When Gordon’s appeal is heard Aug. 1, it will be interesting to see if the league will be more lenient after giving itself a black eye for only issuing a two-game suspension to Ravens’ running back Ray Rice for domestic violence.
As Florio concluded: “The NFL clearly got it wrong with Ray Rice. The NFL has a chance to get it right with Josh Gordon.”
Gordon was arrested for OVI in North Carolina earlier in the month. That legal issue isn’t supposed to weigh in on his appeal, according to Schefter.
Will the Browns have Josh Gordon at some point in 2014?