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Wednesday, May 14, 2014
A glimmer of hope on Josh Gordon issue?

By Pat McManamon

Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope for Josh Gordon.

Gordon
Gordon
While carefully stating that it won't automatically help Gordon, ESPN.com's Dan Graziano reported Tuesday that the NFL is investigating its marijuana testing and consequences. The result would better reflect the trend in society, which has seen marijuana legalized in some states.

Graziano (he and I go way back to covering the Miami Dolphins together when Dan Marino played) also offered this opinion in an analysis: "Should the NFL really still be punishing its players for smoking marijuana? Treating marijuana use as a crime is backward thinking in this day and age."

Two things must be said.

Gordon is responsible for his actions under the rules; he did what he did knowing the consequence. The likelihood of Gordon's action being ignored is slim.

But the fact that the league is willing to take a look at the drug-testing threshold and bring it more in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency might help Gordon's appeal. So too might the fact that the league is discussing adjusting the punishment for positive marijuana tests.

Gordon and his agent Drew Rosenhaus could point out that the league's willingness to change the policy and adjust the punishment means that the one-year punishment clearly does not fit the crime.

In this case it really might not, especially if the NFL's threshold is so much different from that of WADA.

Will it work? Who knows.

The league could simply say that Gordon knew the rules, knew he was on his last chance and he went ahead and did what he did.

The hammer could come down.

But a wise attorney could argue that the league's willingness to adjust its policies and lessen its penalties indicate that Gordon would suffer far too much for his transgression, that by agreeing to future changes the league is admitting punishments for past missteps -- especially recent ones -- were excessive. Why, they could argue, should Gordon be punished so severely for a test and a guideline that the league admits is excessive by virtue of its willingness to change it?

It would seem there is a glimmer of hope.