After 18 days of waiting, a Josh Gordon suspension resolution is still up in the air, as hearing officer Harold Henderson continues to keep the Pro Bowler, and the Cleveland Browns waiting.
So what’s the hold up?
The NFL wants to negotiate a shorter sentence, but Gordon’s camp is refusing to strike a deal, as super agent Drew Rosenhaus is rumored to be threatening the league with a potential lawsuit.
From Dawg Pound Nation:
“The NFL’s appointed arbitrator has been running a stall game in an attempt to allow the NFL and Gordon to reach some type of negotiated settlement. Gordon’s team has held firm in their unwillingness to talk any deal however. They believe they have at least even odds in any legal showdown.”
Henderson is taking a lot of heat for not an announcing a decision, and if true, this report would explain a lot into why the process is taking longer than the Serbo-Bulgarian War.
The league is in a self-imposed PR disaster it created in the wake of suspending Ravens running back Ray Rice just two games for domestic abuse. The bad PR will continue because Gordon and the Browns are being made out to look like victims as the Nasty Shield is perceived to be contently twiddlling its thumbs.
The longer the NFL waits, the worse this matter looks. The threat of a lawsuit shouldn’t keep the league from doing business. By trying to protect the NFL’s own interests, more bad PR will fall upon Roger Goodell and company as the Browns are perceived to be treatdd unfairly.
Other possible outcomes:
• Gordon eventually takes a deal. The Dawg Pound Nation post states Gorodn’s camp won’t even come to the negotiating table, but it’s still a possibility.
• Gordon is suspended indefinitely and can’t apply for reinstatement for one calendar year. This is the worst case scenario for Gordon and the Browns. If Gordon can’t think about being reinstated for 12 months, he’ll miss next spring’s OTAs, mini-camp and most of training camp. This puts Gordon and the Browns behind the eight ball in terms of bettering prepared for the season.
• If what Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot is reporting is true, Henderson can impose a penalty between zero and 365 days. Henderson can also dictate if Gordon is aloud to attend team meetings and conditioning programs.
This could happen, but it’s also unlikely. Henderson was once the executive V.P. of league labor relations. Gordon has a better chance of smoking some ganj as part of a touchdown celebration than having Henderson go against what’s written in the collective bargaining agreement. This is why the waiting period is so puzzling and gives credence to DPN’s report. If Gordon tested positive in Stage III of the substance abuse program, logic dictates the arbitrator would need about five minutes to suspend Gordon indefinitely, not the better part of a month.
• What if Gordon is suspended indefiniltey, with the caveat that he may apply for reinstatement after six or eight games? This possibility has been floated by ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi, and it may be why the league is dragging its feet on the matter.
A plan this complex would need to be carefully crafted, and by holding out so long, Gordon gets to participate in training camp, while only missing regular season games.
At this point, Gordon could be enshrined in Canton before the league hands down a decision. But the longer this plays out, the more it has to favor Gordon. If it was as easy as saying, “You’re suspended, talk to you in one year,” it probably would’ve been done. The letter of the NFL law is pretty clear on what should happen, yet we wait.