Let’s face it: if New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon was not one of the best players in the NFL at his position, he’d be pumping gas in his hometown.
Gordon, who has been suspended multiple times by the league for marijuana use, apparently has nine lives when it comes to his professional football career. The Cleveland Browns stood by Gordon through his substance abuse issues, but a lack of trust in their star player led the organization to ultimately trade him this week.
For a player who has time and time again defied authority, you’d think teams would not be willing to take a chance on a player who has proven to be nothing but trouble, right? Think again.
If an every day person defied authority as Gordon has throughout his career, it’s likely they’d be viewed as a degenerate or a lost cause. The odds that a group of people would stand behind a person the way the Browns stood behind Gordon is slim.
The bottom line is, if a player is talented and brings on-field value to an organization, the mulligans are endless. For example, take a look at former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy.
Hardy was despised by the media and public for his domestic assault arrest, but guess what? Cowboys owner Jerry Jones felt Hardy could help his team win, so he signed him. It’s clear that when it comes to winning a football game, any moral compass a person may have goes out the window.
It reminds me of a quote from the hit-Netflix series “Last Chance U.” Head coach Buddy Stephens openly admits that if DeAndre Johnson, a quarterback who transferred to the school from Florida State after punching a woman at a bar, wasn’t an elite talent, he wouldn’t be at the school.
By no means am I attacking Gordon as a person. Everyone deals with their own personal demons at some point in life and Gordon has been active in trying to shake his substance abuse problems.
With that being said, why is he granted multiple opportunities to get it right when a normal person like me and you are only granted one strike?
Tyler Calvaruso is a journalism major from Howell, N.J. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.