We typically like to make a lot of jokes here at TPA. Sports is a great way to share takes, and joke about how terrible athletes are when in reality they are MUCH better than us in almost every physical way. Athletes are almost not human in the way they are looked at by fans. Produce and they love you. Fail to do so and fans are quick to turn. Fair or not, this is how sports is and how it’s always been. Despite this concept of sport, athletes are indeed humans who go through the same struggles of life that everyone else does. Like everyone else, people go through problems in sometimes a more severe fashion than others. An example of this is Josh Gordon.
News broke today that Gordon is stepping away from football in order to better his mental health. There are also reports that there could be another potential suspension on the horizon for Gordon as well, so it seems he may have stepped away at the right time.
Gordon, who is maybe the most physically gifted athlete in the NFL, has suffered suspensions countless times for failed drug tests, so much so that he was kicked out of the league for a short period of time. This was the year in Cleveland that he was to make his return and dominate. During the start of the year, he seemed to not be very reliable to the Browns, and like many mental health sufferers, had good and bad days. Part of this is the reason he found himself in a Patriot jersey after a mid-season trade. It seemed to be going well and there were many reports he was buying into the “Patriot Way”. Again, like many sufferers of mental health, things can frequently change and your life can be turned upside down. Gordon did himself a favor by trying to better himself.
The report earlier today that Gordon was stepping away from football pulled many reactions out of football fans. Some that were quite sad to see. As has been stated and agreed on before by many, MANY people around the globe: mental health is NOT a joke and should be taken VERY seriously. The brain is the most powerful part of the human body, and if your mind isn’t in the right place than it simply doesn’t matter how athletic you are, you will not be able to perform the way you would in a good state of mind. I think this was evident in the past few weeks. He seemed to gain Tom Brady’s trust more and more each week (not an easy task either) and then the past few weeks he seems less and less involved. This could have been due to a new low he was taken to by his mental health.
Yes, there are rumors a suspension is on the horizon for Gordon and maybe he decided to leave before getting kicked out. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it was due to drugs. The NFL has a complex substance abuse policy. You get drug tested once a year for substance abuse and if you happen to fail the one test a year, they can test you pretty much as often as you want, making it more probable to fail a drug test. When Gordon was reinstated into the league, there were certain terms he is required to follow that goes beyond just drug use. It could be anywhere from a failed test to possibly skipping a scheduled test to not reporting to someone he is supposed to report to in time. The list is endless.
I think through all of this it’s important to remember that athletes are humans too, and if he says he is going through mental health issues than we should respect it and let him get his mind right. Yes, I am just as upset as many other Pats fans. From a purely football standpoint, it really sucks he won’t be there. I was a huge fan of the trade for him and thought he could be a real weapon in our offense. It saddens me he can’t ride it out with the team the rest of the year and hopefully longer. He is an incredibly talented man who needs his time to get his mind right.
The next few days are going to be filled with preposterous speculations and simply horrid takes from football fans around the world. Don’t forget that athletes are only human beings and need to practice self care like the rest of us. The chances of Josh Gordon himself reading this is astronomical, but I feel it’s important to end this blog on this: Josh Gordon, we here at TPA wish you nothing but the best and hope you will be able to, most importantly, get your mind right and if possible, we hope you will be able to come back and continue to show off your incredible talent no matter what jersey you where. Much love to you.
Image from wehco.com