Josh Gordon has written a letter to athletes and fans concerned about his well-being after several drug- and alcohol-related offenses.
On Jan. 25, the Cleveland Browns wide receiver failed another drug test, which detected alcohol in his system. At that time, he was already under a strict set of rules put in place by the NFL after he got a DUI back in late July.
Gordon has plenty of marks against him — like smoking marijuana at Baylor University, violating the NFL’s strict no codeine in medication policy, his DUI, skipping mandatory team meetings and now violating league policies.
In a letter to Charles Barkley and others who have expressed concern, Gordon wanted to set things straight and tell everyone his side of the story.
Growing up in a rough part of Houston with three older brothers and a single mother, Gordon fell into the wrong crowd early in life, he wrote. He was given a chance to play alongside Robert Griffin III at Baylor University but threw it to the wind when he failed a drug test.
Gordon wrote that he is proud to say he has not touched marijuana since joining the NFL. But alcohol may have taken its place. After Gordon failed this most recent drug test, many ESPN journalists expressed doubts about his return to the NFL.
Former NFL player Cris Carter told ESPN that, "For me, my concern is his well being because today is a lonely day there are no winners today."
Gordon wrote in his letter that he is “not someone who deserves to be dissected and analyzed like some tragic example of everything that can possibly go wrong for a professional athlete.”
The letter wasn’t an effort to gain pity, but rather understanding, from the public, Gordon wrote. He wrote that, despite the decisions that have led him to this point, what he is going through now will make him stronger.
In his letter, Gordon maintained that he did not have a problem with substance abuse.
“I am not a drug addict; I am not an alcoholic,” he wrote.
In the concluding paragraphs, Gordon wrote that he believes his future is bright.
“I make mistakes — I have made a lot of mistakes — but I am a good person, and I will persevere,” he wrote.
Substance abuse is a dangerous but treatable behavior in which people use drugs or alcohol in a dangerous way. It can lead to dependence and addiction. Addiction can be treated with counseling, behavioral therapy and medication. If you or a loved one is facing addiction or abusing drugs or alcohol, seek medical care.