To call Josh Gordon a phenom talent of an NFL receiver somehow understates it. Through his first two seasons in the league, Gordon was a high-magnitude earthquake, tearing down defenses on his way to become a first-team All-Pro and was the first receiver to accumulate 200 yards receiving in back-to-back games.
Then he effectively disappeared. Gordon was suspended multiple times from the league for violating the substance abuse policy. The rap on Gordon was that he just wouldn’t stop smoking weed. He applied for reinstatement this year, but was denied by the powers that be. It seemed he might never play football professionally again.
But in a new mini-documentary produced by Uninterrupted, the athlete-driven sports media company owned by LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter, Gordon revealed his struggle with abuse and his addiction to pain relief of all kinds. He also discussed why he never seemed to take the suspensions seriously until it was too late.
“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.”
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The most eye-opening moment of the documentary involves a Baylor coach assisting Gordon to cheat a drug test following a marijuana possession arrest. Knowing he would be tested by the NCAA’s drug compliance officers, his coach gave Gordon what he called “bottles of detox” and demonstrated how to consume them. That way he could still play for Baylor.
Though his weed habits continued, the only time Gordon failed a drug test in college? When his coach didn’t bring him his “bottles of detox.”
“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,” says Gordon in the film.
It’s a powerful documentary about someone with pain—more than just physical at that—who is isn’t helped by the system aimed to protect him because of what his special talents offer the powers that be. Gordon is humble and honest throughout, and is serious about saving his life, not just his career.
Following the release of the film, LeBron James tweeted his support for Gordon. So did Gordon’s former quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
Easy 2 judge some 1 over wrong doings but u never know what they're going thru! Addiction is a REAL ISSUE! Love the direction u headed JG ?? https://t.co/bG9adjOqhL
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 10, 2017
Just watched the short documentary on my fam@JOSH_GORDONXII
Proud of you bro
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) October 10, 2017
You can watch the documentary in full above.