Former Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon has received a lot of criticism for his multiple drug-test failures, leading to a long suspension from the NFL, from those who believed he couldn’t stop smoking marijuana.
But in a new documentary on Uninterrupted, the athlete-driven site started by LeBron James and his business partner, Maverick Carter, Gordon reveals that his drug problems went way beyond weed.
“I’ve used alcohol on many, many occasions, Xanax on many occasions, cocaine several occasions, marijuana most of my life, codeine, cough syrup, methazine is very prevalent where I’m from,” Gordon says. “It’s what I grew up using.
“I’ve been enabled most of my life, honestly. I mean, I’ve been enabled by coaches, teachers, professors; everybody pretty much gave me a second chance because of my ability.”
Gordon alleges that while he was at Baylor, after he was arrested for marijuana possession, one of the Bears’ coaches told him he would be drug tested by the NCAA compliance officers, and the coach gave him “bottles of detox” and showed him how to drink them.
“That was my first experience with getting over on the system and that authority not really being taken seriously, because it was kind of being guided by somebody that’s employed by the same university,” Gordon said.
Because of his drug problems, it’s been three years since Gordon, a 2012 Supplemental Draft pick, played a snap. His first season was respectable – 50 receptions, 805 yards, five touchdowns – but his second was electric. In 14 games in 2013, Gordon rolled, to the tune of 87 catches for a league-best 1,646 yards, and nine touchdowns, earning not just Pro Bowl but first-team All-Pro honors.
But that was also the year his suspensions began; Gordon had to sit out two games for testing positive for codeine. At the time, he said it was from doctor-prescribed cough syrup. Then a DUI in 2014 led to a 10-game suspension. He hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 21, 2014.
At the beginning of the 13-minute film, in which Gordon let a crew follow him around for a couple of days in Gainesville, Florida, where he was in a rehab program, he’s asked why he agreed to participate.
“I think it might be therapeutic for me to talk about it,” Gordon says. “I’m in the position I’m in now and I’m grateful for it. I’m able to give this message and this opportunity for you to learn from my mistakes and for me to tell them my story.”
The film is powerful, and Gordon is honest about his problems and wanting to save his own life, not just his NFL career.
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