The NFL upheld its one-year suspension for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon on Aug. 27 for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Mary Kay Cabot says the suspension is effective immediately. Gordon will be banned from Browns practices and team functions:
"Browns All-Pro receiver Josh Gordon -- suspended Thursday for at least the entire 2014 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy -- will now embark on the longest go-route of his life, and will begin working hard on his comeback route.
"Appeals officer Harold Henderson upheld Gordon's indefinite ban on appeal, and the suspension is effective immediately.
"During his suspension, Gordon will not be permitted to practice with the team or attend team meetings or functions.
"The NFL will decide after the season when Gordon will be eligible to apply for re-instatement with Commissioner Roger Goodell, a league spokesman said in a statement. Normally, a player in Gordon's situation would have to wait a full calendar year to apply -- and that can still happen -- but the NFL is leaving the door open for Gordon to get back sooner.
"Meanwhile, a league source told cleveland.com that Gordon's legal team is considering its legal options right now, meaning they might challenge the ruling and try to get a temporary restraining order or injunction that could keep Gordon on the field until the matter is resolved.
"'I'd like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans,' Gordon said in a statement released by the NFLPA. 'I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn't exercise better discretion and judgment in my case. I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team, and the Cleveland Browns staff.'
"The NFLPA also expressed its dissatisfaction with the ruling.
"'We are disappointed in the decision,' an NFLPA spokesman said in an email to cleveland.com. 'We will continue to support Josh as he goes through this process and as he focuses on a return to the NFL as soon as possible.'
"The Browns have been actively involved in making sure that Gordon has a good support system around him during his ban, and that he receives any substance abuse treatment he might need. In addition, Gordon has a hearing in November for his DWI in Raleigh, N.C. on July 5th. He checked himself into a rehab facility for two weeks in California after the DWI.
"Gordon's lawyers, Maurice Suh and the NFLPA's Heather McPhee, had argued that Gordon tested positive for second-hand smoke and that his inconsistent test results should not result in the season-long ban.
"Gordon was believed to be the only NFL player with a positive 'B' test -- or control test -- under the NFL threshold of 15 nanograms of the banned substance in marijuana per mililiter to be suspended indefinitely. His 'A' test was 16 ng/ml and his 'B' best 13.6 -- enough to confirm the 'A' sample."
According to ESPN, the Browns are puzzled as to why it took this long to process Gordon's appeal:
"The Browns have been baffled as to why it has taken so long for the league to rule on the appeal and have been increasingly frustrated over where the suspension would leave them and Gordon, team sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
"'While we may have strong feelings on the timing and the process of this decision, we have also consistently communicated that we will focus on what we can control in our day-to-day approach,' general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. 'Right now that is preparing our team for the 2014 season and at the same time, supporting Josh however we are able under NFL guidelines during his suspension.'
"Gordon fought the suspension, hiring attorney Maurice Suh to represent him at the appeal hearing.
"Suh, who had successfully gotten a suspension reduced for Seattle (Seahawks) cornerback Richard Sherman, argued that Gordon tested positive for marijuana due to secondhand smoke, sources told ESPN last month. Gordon's representatives also said test results of his samples were inconsistent and should be thrown out.
"There was speculation that the NFL might go soft on Gordon following the public outcry after Baltimore (Ravens) running back Ray Rice was suspended for two games on a domestic violence charge. Instead, the league is putting Gordon on the sideline for all 16 games and will wait to see how he behaves before deciding whether to let him play again.
"Gordon didn't help his cause with two legal issues as his case dragged on. He was charged with drunken driving after his arrest in Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 5. In May, he was stopped for speeing in Strongsvile, Ohio, and one of the passengers in his car was cited for marijuana possession."