The great Jay-Z once said: “What you eat, don’t make me shit,” and he said that to say – whatever you do to yourself, doesn’t affect me. The NFL has a different way of looking at things. The NFL feels, if you’re an employee of the league, you represent them, all of them – and they can punish you for things that you are doing to yourself if it affects the “collective image” of the league.
It’s kind of funny that the NFL wants to set a standard for this “collective image” when the players feel such a disconnect from their owners and the league’s overall hierarchy. If they felt comfortable in that relative dynamic, there would not be a need for a players-union.
With that being said, the Cleveland Browns have become the hot-bed for substance abuse related suspensions in the NFL. Most notably because of weed smoking Josh Gordon and heavy drinker, hard-party-goer and generally assumed drug addict, former quarterback, Johnny Manziel. Gordon has just failed another drug test so his fate is pending and Manziel is currently unemployed with teams scared to touch him.
While realizing that alcohol and drug addictions are serious vices to one’s life. Just how serious should it be in terms of “playing football.” Alcohol is legal. Marijuana is legal in some states, with over-zealous modern day hippies pushing for it to be legal in all fifty states. So what’s exactly “wrong” in dabbing in legal and semi-legal vices?
Well for starters – the word “vices” lends itself to being “no bueno” and they’re not. Who are we to judge though? Sure we’ve seen town-drunks, heard stories about the drugged out or drunkard parents, but these are adults, in their chosen career paths – doing what they want on their spare time. The NFL though, has made it their duty to punish players for being victims of their vices – even when not on “company-time.”
The NFL should leave it up to the team to dish out a punishment. Why the team and not the NFL? Because it’s the team, in this case the Browns, who hired the likes of Manziel and Gordon. It should be up to the Browns organization to decide if their actions deem a punishment. The Browns made their decision loud and clear in the case of Manziel by releasing him. Manziel’s off-field nonsense included, partying, lying and even a domestic abuse case – it was easy to cut ties with the young quarterback, who for all things considered, would’ve been “marginal” at best in the NFL. Josh Gordon on the other hand, he’s a beast. One of the best wide-receivers in the league. Do you really think a sorry-ass, lowly-ass, lower-tier-team like the Browns would want to lose their best player – over smoking some “kush?”
No. Of course not. But the NFL somehow has gotten the “right” to punish a player – quite harshly at that – for being addicted to marijuana. Of course, if the rule is in place, the player should know about it and have the right state of mind to NOT do it – but we’re talking about an obvious addict here. Sure, a lack of intellect or judgement can be thrown in the direction of Josh Gordon but is his “wrong doing” as equal as let’s say beating a woman, or relentlessly punishing a young child? Or even in some cases, vehicular manslaughter?
No. Of course not.
If the NFL wants to seriously consider punishing players for marijuana use, they need to get the penalties right. Josh Gordon shouldn’t feel like a woman/child beater for smoking weed. He should just be embarrassed at the fact that his addiction is public knowledge and it should be up to the Cleveland Browns, to decide what to do with him. It’s like being a big business owner and having one kick ass employee who helps you generate millions of dollars every year. The only issue with this employee is that he sleeps with every new young intern your company hires and it causes some headaches. Would you put up with the headaches and daily drama for the sake of millions? Yes, of course you would (okay, you on your high horse who said “No, I wouldn’t” – go plant yourself in a room with your self-righteous bullshit).
For the record, I’m not an advocate of “legalizing marijuana.” I’m just a guy who believes in the old saying “let the punishment, fit the crime.” For Josh Gordon, being a member of the Cleveland Browns organization is punishment enough.