Josh Gordon needs help. This has been a common sentence bandied about the vacuum of opinions we call the Internet ever since the news came down that the gazelle-like receiver might have failed yet another drug test. And he does. There is no denying that Gordon’s choice of recreational activities since his college days have been sub par, and it is somewhat unthinkable that he ever made it to the hollowed football fields of the NFL. Whatever your stance on the sticky icky is, the NCAA and NFL don’t take kindly to it being in your system, though Gordon’s issues aren’t only relegated to a somewhat illegal plant. Getting a DWI while driving a vehicle registered to a former college basketball player who was once suspended by the NCAA and enjoys punching children out on the basketball court is a bad look.
But what “help” does Gordon need, exactly? Both fans and media alike concoct their own narratives about a person when the glimpses they get of his personal life are as short as Robot Chicken episode. Johnny Manziel has already been labeled a “binge drinker” and a 21-year old with an alcohol problem since he sprays bottles of champagne and has an affinity for floats of the swan variety. I’m pretty sure if the media was given access to my Thursday nights at the University of Missouri, they’d come up with all sorts of new words for my group of friends’ debauchery (my apologies to a certain bar’s bathroom floor and all of its patrons). We don’t see photos of what else Manziel does in his time away from the Browns facility because it would change the narrative. We want to paint Manziel as a drunken maniac who doesn’t actually care about football because it’s what we want to talk about, even if we know it’s not true.
We’ve done the same thing with Josh Gordon. We tend to imagine him at some packed club in Miami, puffing smoke rings into the air as music blares from the speakers loud enough to deafen an earthquake. But perhaps he was sitting quietly on his couch, firing up an episode of Orange is the New Black before hitting the proverbial hay. Regardless of the scene, or the environment, does a person need rehab for that? Do we all of the sudden need to treat him like a wide-eyed kitten stuck on a tree branch that is swaying in the wind? “Aw, poor guy. He needs help.”
Yes, Josh Gordon needs help, but maybe it’s not the kind of help we think. We tend to paint Gordon as a habitual drug user who just can’t keep his lungs away from the sweet serenades of Mary Jane, but with the news that he’s reportedly passed 70 drug tests this year, perhaps its time to change that narrative. Sure, when left to his own devices, Flash has made decisions that are not conducive to the rules and regulations the NFL has in place. If he is indeed suspended for any amount of time, his own devices will be all he has. Maybe the help that Gordon need lies within the confines of Berea, OH, under the piercing eye of his stoic head coach and below the wing of his shut down cornerback teammate, who kicks it at the Barley House without anyone ever knowing.
Josh Gordon needs a routine. Josh Gordon needs structure. He needs friends who don’t have nicknames like “Fats.” He needs football. The less free time he has to flutter his millions about on whatever he chooses, like a camouflage Porsche, the better.
Who knows what the NFL will rule when it comes to Gordon. If he’s pushed out on his own once again, he must be smarter. There are plenty of us who think this cold, hard world will crush him once he’s tossed out in to it by the scruff of his neck. But maybe the narrative will change. Maybe that help we so desperately want Gordon to find has found its way to him. Maybe it’s time to rewrite the narrative.
(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)