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Great Moments in Drug Testing and Punishment: The NFL Edition

Aug 27, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT


This is a reminder that the NFL — a league that does not have HGH testing yet never ever gets slammed for its PED policies the way baseball does — just suspended a guy for a year for smoking weed.

And, while you may defend the glorious NFL here by saying “hey, rules are rules and Gordon broke them,” as Florio noted earlier this month, Gordon would likely not even be subject to a suspension if the NFL had actually gotten its HGH testing in place. Years after it said it wanted to. And of course, just because Gordon may have bad judgment does not make the NFL’s drug policies and discipline priorities any less dumb.

You may now return to obsessing over your fantasy team and talking about how baseball’s drug problems just ruin everything for you. Or, if you live in two of the 22 states in which the NFL operates that have legalized marijuana, you can go smoke a joint and no one will do anything to you.


101 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. miguelcairo - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Holy smokes.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      The Pope inhales?

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:12 PM

        Pope maybe, Cardinals definitely. What do you think that smoke coming out of the Sistine Chapel is?

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        Good point! Now, back to sports … do the Cardinals smoke?

      • philliesblow - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        Are we talking St. Louis or Arizona Cardinals?

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Well, as a Cards fan (the real ones) I was talking baseball. The ones in the desert just suck, mainly.

      • philliesblow - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        Such a fine line between suck & inhale.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 28, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        Per the Commish of the Shield and rightfully derogatory comments about him recently, he seems to have gotten the message on domestic violence:

        That said, apparently just deciding this on his own illustrates how dictatorial he is compared to a Selig, or even a just-retired Stern.

  2. floodoobious - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    We get it Craig – Football is “dumb” and baseball rules!

    Now go type up another quick blog. It’s been 20 minutes.

    • Wesley Clark - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      I think the actual point here is a little more nuanced than “Football is dumb. Baseball Rulz!!!” For all the crap that MLB gets for their drug testing policy, the NFL seems to get a free pass. The NFL has been dragging their feet on HGH testing for years. Where is the outrage? When a utility player gets suspended for steroids, which by the way proves that MLB’s testing is working, all you hear about is how steroids are ruining baseball.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        I’ll try to shorten this as best as possible- the NFL has not been dragging their feet, the NFLPA has been. They NFL is ready to go. They want to implement HGH testing but the union is strongly against it (hmm… wonder why?). In exchange, the NFLPA has given ground in other areas that they otherwise wouldn’t- amount of pot in ones system to test positive, commissioner enforced suspensions and fines under personal conduct policy, etc. So the correct place to place blame here is the players and the NFLPA.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        The dirty little secret here is that it is the NFLPA that is dragging their feet. But we won’t mention that because we wouldn’t dare disparage unions on an NBC blog.

      • Wesley Clark - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        My understanding is that the NFLPA is dragging their feet due to Goodell wanting to have absolute final say. Meaning the players would be able to appeal, only it would be to Goodell. I could be wrong and don’t really care who is dragging their feet. I really could care less about the NFL. My main gripe is the crap MLB takes over their drug policies when the NFL seems to get a free pass.

        As far as asimonetti88 and the union crack, way to add to the conversation. This is a baseball blog but feel free to interject your political points, however misguided and ill informed they may be. The internet would be a much different place if everyone who wanted to post something even remotely political had to prove that they had taken (and passed!) a Political Science 101 course.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        It isn’t that the NFL gets a free pass, the NFL is treated like every other pro league.

        The league that is different is baseball, where the media is works itself into a lather over PEDs. The baseball media with a few ex-players sprinkled in generates all of the outrage….almost no one else cares that much. Football is not the outlier here, baseball is.

        …and demand for HGH outrage is just silly. There remains zero people in the world that have tested positive for HGH during a random test. No one, no where, in any league or sport….plus HGH simply is not a PED for a healthy adult individual.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:24 PM

        “As far as asimonetti88 and the union crack, way to add to the conversation. This is a baseball blog but feel free to interject your political points, however misguided and ill informed they may be. The internet would be a much different place if everyone who wanted to post something even remotely political had to prove that they had taken (and passed!) a Political Science 101 course.”

        Clearly you haven’t read much of Craig’s work. I don’t have any problem with it, but he’s very much “pro-union”.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      You say that as if you wouldn’t expect it to be the case on a baseball blog. Also, most of us wouldn’t mind being paid to surf the net all day and type out whatever pops into our head, typos and all.

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      Craig obviously was picked on by football players as a kid. His hatred for the sport oozes every time he posts on the subject. He was probably Charlie Brown in a past life.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Move it football head!

    • raysfan1 - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      He’s going easy on football here.
      Gordon’s level in the “A” sample was 16ng/ml. The NFL idiotically uses a 15ng/ml cutoff even though WADA uses a 150ng/ml cutoff–10 times higher. His level is in the range that second hand smoke could trigger a positive.
      The “B” sample was below 15ng/ml, but the NFL uses any detectable amount as confirmation of the “A” sample, something no other testing system I’m aware of does. Both samples are from the same void, so “positive” in this case happened solely due to the randomness of which vial got labelled “A” and the variation of a couple billionths of a gram.
      The NFL also uses a no-exceptions to a one-year suspension for players in stage III of their drug program. He was in stage III due to using a cough syrup that turned out to have codeine in it. Note the neither marijuana or codeine are PEDs.
      The NFL also is levying such a harsh sentence for an offense most would say deserves no punishment on the heels of giving Ray Rice a two-game slap on the wrist for punching his then-fiancée-now-wife and knocking unconscious. That is guaranteed to result in extra negative media attention that they do not want.

      Save your “I hate Craig Calcaterra” rants for when on is at least marginally warranted. Better yet, if you hate him so much, quit reading his posts.

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        Sorry, but reading a member of the media whine about the media and how it covers drug testing in sport is amusing.

        No different than when these media clowns cry about HoF voting. It’s people in their industry that are the problem, their colleagues. Yet they all would gladly accept membership into the BBWAA, cozy up and call yourself one of them if given the chance. Validating it’s very existence.

      • cmcbruin - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        Hey, knock out your fiancé and get two games to stew about it. Sit in a room while your friend hits a bong, and it’s the whole season. Makes complete sense to me.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        Let’s not do the Rice vs Gordon dance here. These 2 cases fall under completely different policies: substance abuse policy versus personal conduct policy. Under the substance abuse policy the guidelines are set in stone and agreed upon by the NFLPA. As for the personal conduct policy, the punishment is commissioner enforced, which is a product of the NFLPA dragging their feet on HGH testing and caving in other areas of the CBA agreement to come to an agreement. Basically, Gordon’s punishment was predetermined giving the fact that he’s in Stage III of the program, while Rice’s punishment was a derived result by the commissioner after seeing how the justice system handled it (let go with his spouse by authorities at the scene of the incident, put into a program by NJ in lieu of time/fines), reviewing Rice’s history (clean record prior to incident- no issues during or before time in NFL) and precedent set by the NFL (range of DV suspensions from no games (James Harrison, Shawne Merriman to name a few) to 6 games (BigBen- although not DV, it was a 1st time direct violation of the personal conduct policy, and was reduced to 3 games)). The vast majority of players got 1 or 2 games. Rice got 2.

        Regardless, Gordon, just like every other player in the league, is fully aware of the consequences for his actions. He has the handbook. Hell, I could access the NFL handbook in 10 seconds via Google. The bottom line is simple- it’s company policy. Never mind what other standard are, your union agreed to these standards and felt they were sufficient so you must abide by those guidelines, just as every other player does. He did not. On 4 occasions. Call me crazy but I thought 3 strikes means you’re out. If he wants to complain? He needs to contact his NFLPA rep and question it.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        I absolutely agree that Ray Rice got a ridiculously low punishment… part of that is the NFLPA negotiating lenient punishments for those types of behaviors… part of that is Goodell not being strong enough to ignore that and set the righteous precedent. I think that Rice should have been banned for a minimum of half the season… at the bare minimum… I also absolutely agree that marijuana shouldn’t be prohibited by the NFL… BUT… it is. And Gordon knew the risks and punishments of continuing to smoke. Yes, the amounts in his system were small. But the fact of the matter is, you don’t just accidentally get THC in your system. Gordon had been smoking and while it may have been a few days, he still knew exactly what he was doing.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        I did not say people should compare the Rice situation and the Gordon case. I said they would do so. It is inevitable since the punishments for the two are of a kind–suspensions.

        I also did not absolve the NFLPA in being a big part of the problem. They are. I just didn’t feel it necessary to make a longer response.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        Thing is, to get a 16ng/ml (“A” sample) or 13ng/ml (“B” sample), all you have to do is breathe second hand smoke. The NFL’s 15ng/ml limit is not reasonable. WADA uses 150ng/ml for THC metabolites, and the federal government uses 50ng/ml for that reason. Also, smoke a joint, and you can still test positive in the federal system for 4 weeks, not just a few days. Plus, the NFL used a “B” sample that was below the level that would be considered positive had it been the “A” sample. Both samples are from the same urine void, so the one that is “A” versusv “B” is just random.

        (…and the NFLPA does share blame in this idiocy)

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        raysfan1 – Aug 27, 2014 at 3:43 PM
        Thing is, to get a 16ng/ml (“A” sample) or 13ng/ml (“B” sample), all you have to do is breathe second hand smoke.

        Most everything I have read disagrees with that.

        Also, do you really believe that Gordon was sitting in a hotboxed car (to even attempt to get that much THC in your body through second hand you would need to be in a small enclosed space like that) and didn’t smoke? Really?

        Look, I think weed should be legal not just in the NFL but also in the entire country, but Gordon knew the rules, he broke them. He knew the punishment, he should accept it.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        Most everything I have read disagrees with that.

        From deadspin via Florio:

      • raysfan1 - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        A positive a the federal level via second hand smoke is very unlikely, takes around 6 joints in an unventilated room about the size of a typical walk in closet. The NFL level is less than 1/3 than what the federal government uses. It might still be unlikely, but is feasible, to achieve 15ng/ml via second hand smoke.

        What I believe about whether he smoked a joint or sat around a bunch of friends who smoked while he abstained is actually irrelevant. The point is, if the NFL is going to even bother having a THC standard, it should be set such that second hand smoke claims are no longer plausible.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        Feel free to list all of the MLB players suspended for spousal abuse or DUIs.

        You can rip the NFL all you want for the appearance of inequity, but the STILL suspend players for crimes way more than MLB does….because MLB doesn’t suspend anyone for criminal behavior.

        Let’s not act like Gordon was suspended because of some accident, the guy has been a serial stoner forever. There is a reason he went into the supplemental draft out of college. All he had to do was stop smoking weed, but he couldn’t, so he’s suspended a year. He’s had plenty of chances and a team willing to give him all the support he needs…he’s just continued to make poor choices….and the team is still there to give him all the support they can.

        The NFL even suspended a kicker recently for alcohol abuse. The same guy in MLB just stays a drunk until something unfortunate happens.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Paper–Agreed that any suspension from the NFL for criminal activity is more than MLB would do.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      We get it that, even beyond when Craig deserves a kick, you’ll look for examples where he doesn’t.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      Make me your emperor and people like this will be kicked out here for their own good.

      I’m so expletive deleted sick of people like Flood coming here to say “Craig is stoopid and lazzy. And makes grammar misstakes!”

      If you don’t like it, get out. The internet is a big place. Go there.

      • floodoobious - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        I almost said this the other day when 18th St came to Craig’s defense… you must be craig buddy. I love your reponse though Craig – if you don’t like it – get out. that is quite the redneck mentality ASSCLOWN

      • 18thstreet - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        (a) I’m not Craig.

        (b) I’m also not a redneck, and I don’t appreciate calling me — or anyone — by that term. If you’re going to mock me, the term you’re looking for is “liberal elitist.”

        There’s a lot of writers I don’t like, and TV shows I don’t like. I don’t read them, and I don’t watch them. It’s REALLY easy.

      • floodoobious - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        I almost said this the other day when 18th St came to Craig’s defense… you must be craig buddy. I love your response though Craig – if you don’t like it – get out. that is quite the redneck mentality ASSCLOWN

  3. philliesblow - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    Of course fiance’ abuse only gets you a 2 game suspension.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Well, obviously. Knock a woman unconscious: you’re a naughty boy. Light a plant on fire and breath deeply: you’re a monster.

      That’s how life is supposed to work in most places, no?

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        Just stop. You know very well it’s multiple violations versus a 1 time violation and that the substance abuse policy is predetermined. If this was Gordon’s first incident he would simply be put into a program for more testing with no suspensions or fines. But that’s not the case at all.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        Okay fine, use cough syrup with codeine once and then get high another time – are those together worse than knocking your fiance unconscious? Some first time offenses are worse than some repeat offenses. But hey, your position wouldn’t have anything to do with you being a Baltimore fan, would it?

      • Paper Lions - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        There is approximately a 0% chance that Gordon has been high < 100 times since entering the NFL, he was a stoner in college and he still is.

        Plenty of MLB players have beaten their wives, thus far MLB has shrugged.

        Plenty of MLB player, coaches, and owners have been caught for DUI, thus far MLB has shrugged.

        If fans of MLB want to climb up on a high horse, they should start be realizing that MLB is more lenient about almost everything than the NFL is.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 27, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        One interesting thing about the NFL’s stage III of their drug program…players in it are subject to testing up to 10x a month. Since the greatest deterrent is likelihood of getting caught, regardless of the severity of the punishment, it takes either a special kind of stupid or a psychological addiction to do something that will almost certainly get caught.

        I think image is the reason why MLB is tougher on PEDs and the NFL is tougher on illegal substance abuse and other illegal activity. Even though MLB has easily the most comprehensive testing and toughest penalties, it still gets beat up about steroids, etc. Any time a player has a career year, there is a group of “fans” and media types who will speculate about PED use with no evidence at all. The NFL, meanwhile, gets much more flak than MLB does about drugs of abuse, DUIs, and domestic violence. Football is an inherently violent game, and there is a segment of the population that thinks football players thus have a tendency to be “thugs.” Image to corporations means money, and every decision they ever make is ultimately driven at least to an extent by the profit motive. Thus, they each do what any other big business would, more vigorously address the problem that damages the brand image most.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:24 AM

        Kevin S-

        RE: “use cough syrup with codeine once and then get high another time – are those together worse than knocking your fiance unconscious?”
        *No it’s not. Stage II of the program is typically a 1 or 2 game suspension w/o pay. Rice took a $500,000 bath, equal to 3 games, along with his 2 game suspension.

        “But hey, your position wouldn’t have anything to do with you being a Baltimore fan, would it?”
        *Actually, if you paid any attention, it does not at all. My position has to do with the NFLPA agreeing to these terms, but people blaming the commissioner like he forced this upon the players. If you want to place blame? Blame the NFLPA and the players. Or just blame the moron Gordon who can’t stay away from bud. Like I said to another poster: There’s roughly 1600 players in the NFL. If only 5 get busted for pot a year that’s .003%. Why in God’s name would the other 1,595 players give a damn about lower tolerance on drug testing when it doesn’t effect them at all, but they would have to give in on another policy that may effect them more, like HGH? The league suggested those terms, the players and the union agreed to it. It is what it is.

        As for the domestic violence hit on Rice- I base my opinion it strictly on facts. Fact: the police let him walk with his fiance after the incident. Fact: The state of New Jersey felt that Rice’s clean past and the lack of substantive evidence was enough reason to not press charges, and instead put him into a diversion program instead. Fact: The average discipline in the last 10 years for players in Rice’s position is between 1 and 2 games suspension without pay. So based on those facts? The suspension fit. Could it have been more strict? Sure. I feel like Big Ben got hosed big time with his 6 game suspension (despite the fact that is was hacked down to 3, but if you think it’s blind homerism I shed, and I just defended Ben? Maybe now you see it’s not.). Maybe Rice deserved 4 games. At most. But it would’ve been cut down to 2 anyway, so we’re back at square one. On the flip side, we can look at guys like Hardy of the Panthers who was actually found guilty (unlike Rice) of assulting his girlfriend and threatening to kill her (also unlike Rice). In that case? I feel like he deserves more. If Rice did that? I would also think he deserves much more. But given Rice’s squeaky clean history, the way the police and the judicial system of NJ handled it, and the precedent already set? I feel his suspension is justifiable. And I would honestly like somebody who believes he deserves more to justify their logic without saying “cuz pot gets you a whole year it’s not fair!!!” Maybe something a little less juvenile and stoner-ish in the logic department maybe?

  4. bonnovi - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    I’ve heard that the amount of Marijuana in his system was so low that if he had been an Olympic athlete, a Federal employee, even a member of the Army, the test would have come back negative. That’s a testament to how strict (and archaic) the NFL is when it comes to Marijuana.

    • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      True. WADA sets the pot limit at 150 ng/ml, while the NFL is at 15ng/ml. Gordon’s 1st test was above 15, while the 2nd was below. In fact, the average of the two tests was below 15 ng/ml. This is as much of an ‘execute the jaywalker’ penalty as Ray Rice’s transgression was a ’30 days in the hole for murder 1′ penalty. The NFL has incorrect priorities right now. In an age when the stigma of pot smoking is nearly gone (reefer madness, anyone?), and the tolerance of domestic violence is at an all-time low, the NFL has decided on bizarro-world penalties.

      I’m of mixed mind on this subject. Gordon obviously has substance abuse problems; he hasn’t been clean in college or the pros. And, as far as I am a football fan, I’m a Browns fan, so bias enters enters into this as well. He knew, when he signed his contract, that he wasn’t allowed to use codeine or smoke pot. He knew that. He knew it in the same way that employees of the Cleveland Clinic know that they are not allowed to smoke if they want to keep their job. It doesn’t matter what’s legal or what’s illegal. It’s what he signed on for. But the penalty is excessive. A short suspension or a fine would have been fair. A full season for what amounts to little more than trace elements of pot in his system is just ludicrous. And just weeks after the debacle of the Ray Rice situation makes the entire NFL look like more and more of a joke.

    • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Blame the NFLPA for agreeing to it then. After all, they had to sign off on it in the last CBA. IF it was such an issue, why did they agree to it?

  5. frank35sox - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Flip, flop. Flip, flop. You got all hot and bothered when the MLB punished players with penalties that were harsher than the drug policy outlined, but as soon as a player in the NFL is punished based on the stated disciplinary policy, you’re demanding leniency. So which way is it, Craig? Letter of the law or not? Or does letter of the law only apply when in tune with your moral compass?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      Baseball exceeded its authority in the A-Rod case. That’s one kind of bad thing.

      Football has a really dumb policy. That’s another kind of bad thing.

      Or do you live in such a simple-minded world that there can only be one bad thing?

      • Bob Loblaw - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        But Craig, it was not like football just magically pulled this policy out of their butts. The PLAYERS collectively bargained with the owners and they both signed the paperwork that allowed this to be the policy.

        The real problem is that most of the players are not potheads. Or they aren’t dumb enough to get caught. So they figured why should they give up something to the owners when 99% of them are not affected by the drug policy anyway.

        And the 99% are right.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:16 PM


        Ask all of Josh Gordon’s teammates if they “are not affected by the drug policy in anyway”.

        Josh’s year long suspension HAS affected every one of his teammates…

        So they ARE affected by the drug policy, even the ones who have never used any kind of drugs.

      • Bob Loblaw - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        But you missed the point. Sure “team results-wise” this is going to affect the Cleveland Browns. But as far as dollars go, and THIS is the only thing that is negotiated back and forth during CBA talks, having the 1% who can’t control themselves or are so stupid that they are going to get themselves caught lose 1 year’s pay isn’t enough for the 99% to give something else up to get lesser punishment than the owners want. So the owners get their punishments and the players get something else, like more money or a higher % of revenue. CBA negotiations are a give and take and the players aren’t going to give squat when it’s 99% vs 1%.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:16 PM


        I got your point. I agree with it too.

        we’re both right. players on teams who lose teammates to drug suspensions ARE affected, especially when they are very good players.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        Bob just nailed it. That’s the point I’ve been trying to make. If 95% of players don’t want an 18 game season and 70% of players don’t want HGH testing, then the NFLPA is willing to sign off on the very low detection of illegal substance that only 5% of players are fighting to increase. They made a decision that is best for all players, not for the select few. While it may effect the team winning, it’s not the QB’s fault his wideout is moron and he shouldn’t have to agree to give up something he feels strong about so that guys like Gordon can catch a little extra buzz.

        The other issue not being discussed- players who aren’t in the program get tested for illegal substances ONCE in the year between July and August (prior to regular season starting). If these players are stupid enough to even be around it and can’t hold out for 2 months out of a year? They deserve to be tested year round because clearly they do have an issue.

      • Squawk and Awe - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Does football have a really dumb policy?

        Substance abuse can negatively effect the performance of a companies’ employees. Many companies, if not most, have some sort of substance abuse policy. In the real world when you violate that policy you typically get fired. So here you could call the NFL lenient.

        On the other hand performance enhancers do actually enhance the performance of employees. We have definitely seen that fans of the NFL don’t care nearly as much about PED’s as fans of baseball. Personally I enjoy both sports but honestly baseball was a lot more enjoyable when everyone was juiced.

        NFL policy seems to be put in place to protect their product. Substance abuse bad. PED’s good, or at least not that big of a deal.

        Baseball’s crusade against PED’s has been cute and all but really it has hurt the product to at least some extent. Really I just miss Bonds and McGwire. Did we all forget that chicks dig the long ball?

      • Francisco (FC) - Aug 27, 2014 at 7:14 PM

        That’s the only 1% that’s screwed.

  6. El Bravo - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    This is his second offense, he was suspended two games last year for having codeine in his system. He also got a drunk driving charge recently, I guess. Not sure that one plays into this though. Either way, it is dumb, but there is a bit more to it than just weed smoking. The crazy part is that Ray Rice got two games for dragging and beating his now wife. The NFL has its priorities, and they are totally F’d.

    • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      DUI does not. He will be seeing another suspension next year.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      The DUI is not part of the suspension. That will fall under the personal conduct policy, while the suspension is under the substance abuse policy. I don’t think the DUI helped his case though. Especially when the car he was arrested in is in the name of a well-known felon.

    • Paper Lions - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      Sure, but MLB has never suspended anyone for DUI or for beating their spouse. Sure, the NFL’s priorities may be out of whack, but they are not as whacked as those in MLB.

      You also have to realize that personal issues are generally irrelevant for employment purposes. Most people are not affected in their job if there is a domestic issue that does not result in any charges being pressed.

      Hell, many cops and soldiers are wife beaters and only does it not affect their job, no charges are ever brought against them. If we are going to start looking for places with priorities in order, one of the best places to start is with our leaders and those charged with public safety….and those groups are among the worst offenders.

      • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        I can’t disagree with you there.

  7. hurricanegrabowski - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Craig, I wonder if that giant chip on your shoulder is bbq or sour cream and onion flavored

    • grumpyoleman - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      Probably concrete from being chased down and beat up on the mean streets of Flint growing up.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        Craig really came from there? I once lived about a mile east of Buick City.

        Looking at Craig’s LinkedIn bio, I always thought he’d given up the grind of corporate law, but the last place he worked was in the Ohio AG’s office. Call me crazy, but I think I would have hung there longer, unless NBC is overpaying him and all other sports bloggers.

  8. sdelmonte - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    I think at long last, people are starting to notice all the flaws hidden under the NFL’s huge profits and ratings. Not that anyone seems to be paying attention to how many players are suspended for PEDs every year. But the uproar over this and over Ray Lewis might have moved the needle a little.

    • Wesley Clark - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      It really is a disgusting underbelly of concussions, painkillers, PED suspensions and athletes/owners behaving badly. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that the NFL is purposefully delaying the HGH testing because they are aware of how prevalent usage is among the players.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        If they are, then they are just shooting themselves in the foot. No athlete in any sport has ever had a positive HGH test. The only ones that have had a HGH suspension were found with the stuff in their possession, not in a blood test. HGH metabolizes within a few hours of use; anyone ever caught will be one of the unluckiest people ever. Baseball’s HGH testing, BTW, hits about 1 in 3 players one time during the year–again for something that metabolizes so fast that a player who injected it before a game would test negative by the time the game was over.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        From everything I understand, the NFL is ready to pull the trigger but the NFLPA is delaying it.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:41 PM

        The NFLPA is delaying HGH testing, not the NFL.

  9. xjokerz - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    smoking a fat bowl on my lunch break. nice living in a state where its legal.

    • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      God, I love you so much right now.

      • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        Also, I hate you.

    • baberuthslegs - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Cool that your boss is good with you being stoned at work.

    • philliesblow - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Hope you don’t work at a nuclear power plant.

    • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Does your boss also let you pound shots at lunch? Because we both know how neither will effect or impair your ability to work. Hope you don’t need to drive anywhere. It’s still a DUI if you’re stoned. Just ask Steelers Leveon Bell.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Hope it came from The Emerald Triangle of NorCal.

  10. Bob Loblaw - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Drug policy… drug policy. HGH or no HGH. Weed or no weed. Suspensions or no suspensions. Attendance or no attendance. TV Ratings or no TV ratings.

    In my opinion, football is just a more fun sport to watch on TV than baseball. I am sure not many here agree, which is fine. But I don’t care if MLB crushed the NFL, I would still enjoy Sunday afternoons in the fall more than just about any single day of baseball, including the World Series.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM


      Well, each of us is allowed to like and dislike what we want.

      No one can tell you that you’re wrong because this is your opinion…

      Nothing wrong with a nice, sunny, cool fall day, jeans and a sweat shirt, a nice pot of chili and some cold beer and a football game…

      And I’m a huge baseball fan…

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      I like both sports. Early part of the football season is fun, when you can watch some October playoff baseball and NFL football on the same day. End of football season is great too with the playoff races. I’ve been loving having both football and baseball the last few weeks. In a few more weeks, we’ll have basketball and hockey too. Exciting times to be a sports fan.

      • cshearing - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:19 AM

        Throw in the start of the NHL season and you have sports nirvana.

  11. yahmule - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    The scumbags also let the poor guy twist in the wind all summer before they unloaded the full penalty on him. I can’t wait for the games to take my mind off how much I hate the league.

    • El Bravo - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:31 PM


    • Bob Loblaw - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      But you can’t blame the league necessarily for something that the players agreed to 100% can you? Also, this happens to so few players that can you really blame them for not caring about those who are so stupid that they can’t just stop smoking for a little while?

      • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        Have you read the above comments of the amount of THC found in his urine? It’s entirely possible Gordon got that through being the same room as pot smokers. So now what you’re saying is that a good NFL player has to cut certain friends and family out of his life?

  12. Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 27, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Josh Gordon’s Press Conference (at least in my head)

    “I’d like to apologize to the fans of the Cleveland Browns. I’ve let them down. But I’ve also learned my lesson. I will give up smoking pot or being around people that smoke pot. If the pressure gets to me again, and I think I’m going to inhale, I’ll just punch the woman closest to my heart. That way, I won’t be suspended for nearly as long a time.”

    • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      You’re right. He wouldn’t be suspended as long. Per CBA, the substance abuse policy violations cannot effect the punishment of a violation of the personal conduct policy. So Gordon, on a first offense under the personal conduct policy, would be subject to the same punishment as Rice, who also had only this one incident under the policy. And given the average suspension for a DV charge is 1-2 games, Gordon would likely be in that range.

      Then again, he could be like James Harrison formerly of the Steelers who busted down his girlfriends door, snapped her phone in half when she tried to call 911 and slapped her down to the ground, and end up with no suspension or fine at all. Or Shawne Merriman who choked out his girlfriend Tila Tequila and saw no NFL punishment at all. Or Dez Bryant who popped his own mother just a year ago. Or Hardy of the Panthers who has yet to be suspended for beating and threatening to kill his girlfriend. But we don’t talk about those incidents do we…

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        The Ray Rice saga is the most recent example and the one that’s still in the news. We also won’t be talking about Josh Gordon after a few more tokers get caught. It doesn’t make it any better or worse than the examples you stated. The domestic abuse and violence are way more detrimental to society than smoking dope, in my opinion. It’s a travesty that they aren’t adjudicated with stiffer penalties, and, just as importantly, the NFL is so secure in its pop culture position that it can get away with such a double standard without any meaningful ramifications.

  13. wjarvis - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    In 2010 Gordon was suspended for weed, 2011 suspended indefinitely for failing a drug test. 2013 Suspended for substance abuse. 2014 DUI and failed drug test. Lets not pretend like a single bad decision is screwing him over.

    According to the olympic standards he would have already had a lifetime ban before this test. Also until last year 15 ng/ml was also considered a positive test for the olympics so the nfl standard is not abnormally low.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      Right. Olympic standards. The same guys that took away a Silver medal in snowboarding for, you know, smoking weed.

      Got it.

      • nukeladouche - Aug 27, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        Hey koufax, do you know why the Olympic Committee suspected that Nagorno snowboarder was a potsmoker?

        A: He was a snowboarder.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        Surveillance showed him at McDonalds after midnight.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        Rebagliati actually won the Gold medal, but they gave him it back because weed wasn’t banned at the time. I believe it is now though.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        Was that the Calgary games? I remember silver medal, and then I remember the dude telling the IOC to keep their medal after they took it from him. This was when Snowboarding was an exhibition sport.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        I’m not sure.. Snowboarding was first an official event at the 98 Nagano Games, and that is where Rebagliati won gold. I think Calgary was 88 or 92, but I’m too young to remember those games.

    • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      The IOC, such denizens of fair play. Give ’em 50k and he wouldn’t have been suspended at all.

  14. jlinatl - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    The primary reason that drugs are not the primary concern of the NFL is that player safety is.

    Yes, there can be more than 1 concern but often only 1 concern works it way up to “cause” that lends itself to obsessive scrutiny. The nature of the sports leads to differing priorities. (At least until the next round of bargaining)

  15. wheels579 - Aug 27, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    How many more times can Ray Rice knock out his wife before his punishment equals Gordon’s? Seven? Three? Will the league bother to look at the surveillance tape next time? Because there will be a next time…

    • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      Congrats! You win ‘Most Ignorant Comment of the Day!’

      As everybody else in the world who has ever watched the four letter network or read a sports related website knows, the NFL DID view the footage. The only parties to view the footage to date is the local PD, the judge in his trial and the commissioner of the NFL. The police decided to let Rice leave with his fiance. The judge decided to put Rice in a pretrial intervention program in lieu of being charged. The NFL suspended him 2 games and fined him $500,000 (3 game checks). So in consensus, all 3 parties to view the footage deemed the issue bad enough that they didn’t full drop the charges, but not nearly as bad as everybody else who has never seen the tape is making it out to be.

      As for the “there will be a next time” comment… I’ll just have to let it go, because clearly you are too blind to realize that this world is not inherently evil and that one drunken incident does not ensure that he’s a compulsive wife beater. Or you DO realize it but it doesn’t help your cause so you’d rather stick with this story. So by all means, keep pushing you’re agenda by using fictional statements. Maybe next time you can say that he sicked his Siberian Tiger on her. Or maybe shoved her into oncoming traffic. Or made her sit through the TMNT movie- I hear that is as close to death as you can get.

  16. stevietimmy - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    Jesus, here we go again. You are like that smart, yet fat chick at the prom wondering why no one wants to dance with her. Is “baseball dying?” No, probably not. Does it clearly play second-fiddle to the NFL in regards to popularity? Sorry, but yes it does. Get over it. Life is unfair. So wah wah wah about every flaw with the NFL and try sticking instead to HBT. You are embarrassing yourself over here. Now why is it that you can find “blogposts” about the NFL on HBT, but not vise versa? HMMMMMM!!!!

    Just when society thought that the last thing we needed was another lawyer, we get a blogger/lawyer or lawyer/blogger… who the heck knows. Either way it sucks. I will also go ahead and answer the forthcoming, tired retort of “Then why do you even bother reading this column?” with the equally tired, yet deserved answer of “Derp.”

  17. ericmies11 - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:14 AM

    Ill smoke a J to that!

  18. ericmies11 - Aug 28, 2014 at 2:17 AM

    > =====I—-

  19. Eutaw's Finest - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    What I’ve learned from reading all of these posts- there are a TON of people who smoke pot, and that seems to be the only thing that matters to them in this world. Glad I’m in the minority.

    • cshearing - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      So because they respond to a thread about pot that they smoke pot, it is the only thing that matters to them? Seems like quite the logical leap you made there.

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