Josh Gordon Pens Open Letter to Charles Barkley, Other Media About His Failed Alcohol Test

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Josh Gordon is looking at another suspension, this time for failing a test for alcohol. Following his charges for a DUI last year, the league mandated that the wide receiver abstain from beer and booze for the season, a point he emphasized in an open letter published on Medium today. 

The last failed test happened January 2, days after the season officially ended for the Browns. Now, that's a quibble we're sure he and his agents will be after as they negotiate the appeal process and try to get No. 12 back on the field.

For our purposes here, however, let's focus on two parts of his open letter. 

First, his takedown of Cris Carter, Stephen A. Smith, Charles Barkley and others who, Gordon says, he's never spent meaningful time with but nevertheless did the reactionary talking head thing on ESPN and other channels lamenting that Gordon had a problem, that he was an alcoholic, that he might well die from his issues. The same sentiments could be heard across local sports talk stations, along with complaints that regardless of any undiagnosed and unsupported medical claims coming from their mouths, they were more disappointed that Gordon couldn't just follow the rules and stay eligible to help the orange and brown. Anyway, Gordon addressed the former concerns head on.

Chuck, you have never so much as shook my hand, let alone exchanged a single word with me. Few of you have, to be honest. Respectfully, your worry over my “problems” with substance abuse and my twisting descent into darkness and, apparently, my impending death, is misplaced — mostly because you have very little idea what you are talking about. None of you do, even those of you who seem curiously obsessed with the goings-on in my life.

You’re done with me, Stephen A.? That presumes we ever actually got started. How, exactly, can you be “done” with someone you have never had a meaningful conversation with beyond a quick First Take spot? Regardless, I am relieved that you no longer need to harbor sympathy for me — mostly because I never asked for it, never wanted it, and certainly never needed it. I am not a victim here; I never claimed to be one, either.

And Cris, your level of interest in my life is even more puzzling, especially considering we have never met, either.
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The second has to do with this picture. That's from Joe Haden's Instagram, taken on January 2 as some Browns headed to Vegas on a private plane. Gordon, who earlier in the piece says that he hasn't smoked weed since being drafted by the Browns, explains how the flight led to the failed test.

On Jan. 2 of this year, just days after our season ended earlier than we all had hoped — and yes, my actions during the prior offseason definitely contributed to our failure to make the playoffs; it killed me seeing our guys fight so hard when I wasn’t out there with them — I boarded a private flight to Las Vegas with several teammates. During the flight, I had two beers and two drinks. It was the first time I had consumed so much as a drop of alcohol since July 4, 2014, the day of the DWI.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not much of a drinker. Even calling me a social drinker would be an exaggeration, but at that moment, on that flight, I made a choice. The wrong choice, as it turned out.

Upon landing, I received the all-too-familiar notice by phone that I was to report to a testing location within four hours. I failed the test, obviously, and the rest is history … colored by media speculation and faux outrage.
Whether you believe Gordon or not, you have to give the guy credit for going out swinging, even if it's on his way out of Berea.


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