Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon lashed out at critics in a letter posted on Medium, taking shots at Charles Barkley, Stephen A. Smith and Cris Carter.
They've all expressed serious concern about Gordon.
Gordon is facing a year-long suspension after admittedly testing positive for alcohol. He has a history of failed drug tests and has shown he can't be counted on.
The defiance from Gordon doesn't make sense, but neither do his decisions.
“I am not a drug addict,” Gordon said. “I am not an alcoholic.”
Gordon appeared to be making excuses for his misbehavior by blaming it on his rough upbringing. Gordon said he
“If you see me someday, Chuck, Stephen A., Cris, or any other well-intentioned person to whom this letter is directed, please come on over, shake my hand, and say hello,” Gordon wrote. “I won't be holding a grudge, but I will expect you to admit you were wrong about me.”
Gordon detailed the drinking episode on a flight to Las Vegas.
“On Jan. 2 of this year, just days after our season ended earlier than we all had hoped — ?and yes, my actions during the prior offseason definitely contributed to our failure to make the playoffs; it killed me seeing our guys fight so hard when I wasn't out there with them? –?I boarded a private flight to Las Vegas with several teammates,” Gordon wrote. “During the flight, I had two beers and two drinks. It was the first time I had consumed so much as a drop of alcohol since July 4, 2014, the day of (his DWI arrest in North Carolina).”
Gordon said he didn't think he should have to stop drinking.
“Did I think that was excessive given I had never had any issue whatsoever with alcohol?” Gordon wrote. “Yes. Did I think it was hypocritical that a professional league making hundreds of millions of dollars off beer sponsorships was telling me not to drink? Yes. Did I so much as blink at the condition? No.”
“I failed the test, obviously, and the rest is history … colored by media speculation and faux outrage. In the end, of course, I failed myself. It doesn't matter if I thought that the league-imposed restriction on drinking had expired at the end of the regular season; what matters is that I didn't confirm whether or not that was the case. Now, that oversight has further jeopardized my relationship with my team and our fans, my reputation, and maybe even my career.”
Gordon did say he was sorry.
“Words cannot express the remorse and regret I feel over this latest incident,” he wrote. “I acknowledge that the repeated transgressions that have led up to this point have damaged my credibility, and for that, the only person to blame is me. I have let down many in Cleveland? — ?my Browns teammates, our hard-working coaching staff, the team's ownership, and the loyal fan base that wants nothing more than to win.
“Playing there is different than in many other cities. We feel the fans' pain. We know how important this is to them. Also, I have disappointed the family and close friends who have always stood by me? — ?no matter how tough things have been at certain points in my life. Believe me, there have been more dark days than I care to remember. Most importantly, I have failed myself. Again.”
Gordon said he grew up using marijuana and didn't have a father around, raised by his mother
“I make no excuses for my past,” Gordon said. “That culture didn't make me do anything I didn't want to do, but when you judge me without actually knowing me, you deny the existence of the world I come from. I've come a long way from those mean Fondren streets, but it's clear that I can be a better me? — one who kids coming up to me for selfies and autographs can be proud of. I want that future for myself. And I truly believe that what I am going through right now will only make me stronger. I believe that my future is bright.”
How did he get in this position?
“That's easy,” he wrote. “I messed up.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun