Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon is facing a year-long suspension for substance abuse violations. However, he has an appeal scheduled for Friday, and is preparing a spirited defense.
Among Gordon’s defenses:
• The positive test which flagged Gordon was from the exact same specimen that also had a B sample test negative. The A sample showed 16 nanograms per millileter; the threshold for failure is 15 nanograms. The B sample, from the same specimen, was 13.63 nanograms per millileter. Had the B sample been the first one tested, Gordon would have passed the test.
• The readings were the result of secondhand smoke, according to Gordon’s attorneys, which is not a punishable offense under the NFL’s rules. In addition, the samples would not have tested positive under the testing guidelines of the Olympics and Major League Baseball, among other sporting entities.
• Finally, attorneys will note that Gordon has been tested over 70 times since his rookie year, with only one test coming back positive. Even that test, attorneys will contend, had differing A and B samples.
The NFL’s response? “You are responsible for what’s in your body,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told cleveland.com. “That’s always been a cornerstone of our drug-testing programs.” Gordon is facing an indefinite suspension because he is in Stage III of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Gordon was arrested this summer on DWI charges, but that has no impact on this suspension and will not be considered in the appeal. Last year, he was suspended for two games and fined four games’ worth of pay for another positive drug test. At the time, he claimed it was as a result of codeine in his cough medicine.