Dec 10, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon watches a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

It's Time to Stop Caring About Josh Gordon's Problems

I’ve had enough.

We are on about hour 36 of the Josh Gordon shock and “aw jeez” news cycle. Enough already.

I’ve heard and read opinions from all over the sports media-world about how sad the situation is. I’ve heard about Josh Gordon’s demons. I’ve heard about his substance abuse problem. I’ve heard about how we all need to step in and save this kid before he throws his life away.


First of all, let’s get a few things straight. Take away the NFL contract and Josh Gordon is no different than many of the people reading this rant this very moment. Josh Gordon is a 23 year old grown man who is fully capable of making right and wrong decisions. The other day, he had too much to drink and got in a car. Many of us have done the same. Not long ago, he tested positive for marijuana. Plenty of us smoke marijuana. It’s even legal in two of our nation’s states.

Josh Gordon does not need help. He doesn’t need anyone’s attention or for anyone to waste any time trying to turn his life around. He doesn’t have a substance abuse problem. He likes to smoke marijuana, dating back to falling asleep in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant with a bag of it in the center console of the car he was in. He likes to drink and made the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much. But a substance abuse problem? Please.

Josh Gordon is just another 23 year old kid who thinks the rules are different for him and that everything will work out. You don’t fight off personal demons with a few hits of marijuana and a couple of beers. If so, I know a ton of people who fight a lot of demons several times a week.

Josh Gordon is a guy who can’t understand the correlation between an endless amount of riches that could almost guarantee that his grandkids wouldn’t have to work for a living and how a few bong hits or liquor shots could end it all. This isn’t about getting him an intervention or getting him to rehab. This is about repeatedly making foolish decisions — the kind of decisions that no amount of mentoring can fix.

Walk into any military work center in the country — combat or office oriented. What you’ll find is a workplace full of guys and girls the same age as Josh Gordon who get it. They understand that they cannot smoke marijuana or get behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much. They understand that if they do, they could lose a $35,000 a year job. Some of them make the wrong choices and lose those jobs.

There are no interventions for those soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines — only pink slips.

We often catch athletes calling themselves soldiers or referring to what they do for a living as “going to war.” Maybe it’s time we start treating guys like Josh Gordon the same way we treat soldiers. As a member of the armed forces goes through the process of getting booted from the military, one of the things they often hear is “this line of work isn’t for everybody.” How about we start telling guys like Josh Gordon the same?

If you are dealing with a young man who can’t understand that a multi-million dollar contract to play a sport is more valuable than being intoxicated behind the wheel or getting high after his employer has told him not to, then maybe we need to stop wasting our time and chalk it up to “this line of work isn’t for everybody.”

Josh Gordon hasn’t killed anyone. He hasn’t assaulted any police officers or strippers. He hasn’t robbed any gas stations. By all accounts, he’s probably a good person and a pretty fun guy to be around. But if, at 23 years old, he doesn’t possess the wherewithal to make some fairly easy decisions that could vastly improve the lives of his family, his employer and himself, maybe it’s time for everyone to cut their losses and move on.

We don’t need to look back and worry or wonder about what might have been. We’ll already know what was.


Tags: Cleveland Browns Josh Gordon

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