|Josh Gordon may be forced to miss the entire 2014 season|
Last week, while Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon was awaiting a late July suspension appeal hearing for a failed drug test, he was arrested on a DUI charge. Another troubled athlete who just can’t seem to figure things out. Arrest on top of arrest. Ho hum. Business as usual in the NFL.
However, a number of stories have arisen due to Gordon’s most recent incident. Several athletes and public
figures are commenting. In the past, one might expect these comments to follow a theme of disappointment, frustration, or even anger. But today, the soundbytes carry a much different tone. Support. Redemption. Understanding. Awareness. These are the words of the new NFL. When one of its brethren falls victim to substance abuse, expect to be now be enlightened.
For instance, former NFL player Cris Carter released a statement, drawing on his own his experience when he too battled addiction early in his career. He feels that the Browns, like the Eagles did to him, should release Gordon.
“My situation was very, very similar. If I’m the Cleveland Browns — and it’s gut-wrenching for me to say this — I really think that the only thing that’s going to help the kid is if they release him.”
“We’re dealing with addiction. We’re dealing with a disease,” Carter continued. “If Josh had cancer we’d put him in a treatment center. And right now that’s what we need to do for him. But no one wants to do the hard thing. Everyone wants to keep coddling him, the same way they did him in high school, the same thing they did him at Baylor, where he had problems. Eventually it’s going to blow up. Now it’s blowing up in the National Football League, and his career is in jeopardy.”
If Josh had cancer… Cris Carter just REALLY let us know that addiction is a serious disease.
|l-r: Cris Carter, Michael Irvin|
“The people start thinking that you have insight on the situation or the issue or the problem so when you come out and make those kinds of comments and you’re not in his sessions with his professional help, you don’t know what’s going on in those sessions, then you’re being irresponsible,” Irvin said. “I was a bit disappointed Cris Carter made that statement.”
He went on to add:
“Now, isolation for Cris may have been the best thing. Separation, for Cris, may have been the best thing. For Josh, maybe it’s the worst thing.”
Treatment sessions. Isolation and separation. Disease of addiction. These are former NFL players, using the words of a clinician. Today’s NFL is very aware of this complex disease.
“No one could tell me anything when I was going through it; I had to figure it out for myself. Hopefully he will get the point,” Mathieu said. “Hopefully he will get the message, but most of the time it takes for people to hit rock bottom for them to start believing in their self and start seeking help. A lot of people can reach out to you but that doesn’t mean you always take that help and take that advice. He just has to want it for himself.”
They say Honey Badger fears no man (well at least hall of fame broadcaster Brent Musburger thinks so). His comments, however sound very much like Step One – Admission. Powerless. Help. These are the words of a new addiction aware NFL. We have come a long away from an awareness standpoint.
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