It sure would be easy for me to sit here and destroy Cleveland’s star wide receiver, Josh Gordon. He has made it very light work to write about his knuckleheaded activities. And anyone who is crushing this NFL baller is justified in doing so.
The guy is an outstanding player with tremendous upside. So as he screws up over and over again, it is going to be news. If there is nothing else going on in the NFL world, then the reports of his off the field blunders will get even more air time on ESPN and the like. What Josh Gordon needs is for Johnny Manziel to go on a week long drinking binge and fly to Monte Carlo to marry Miley Cyrus. That would make the talking heads forget Josh Gordon ever had any problems at all.
Gordon’s latest incident was a DWI arrest in North Carolina. That is not good for anyone, especially a star NFL player who is already facing a possible year long suspension for reportedly failing a drug test. Should Gordon get his act together? Absolutely. Is he different than any other regular Joe who wastes talent and opportunity? Only in the magnitude of his potential losses.
How many people have you known over the years who had some skills that they just let dwindle while going through the motions of life? I know a few and there are opportunities that I myself have squandered. How many folks do you know who let drugs or alcohol ruin the good, although ordinary life they could have had? Again, I know some of those people. When the average person screws up with aDWI arrest or loses a job because of a failed drug screening, ESPN or FOX Sports is not going to be there to cover the story. But the result is the same, except in scope. The average person who makes these mistakes sufferers loss of income, shame, and has to deal with the legal system, which is a nightmare.
Sports fans and analysts love to criticize athletes like Josh Gordon. We all want to say that we would not be doing stupid things to ruin a chance to play a game for millions of dollars. But it happens everyday. We all want to hold athletes to a higher standard than average people, but I have seen beautiful young ladies who destroyed their appearance along with their lives with drug use. I have seen great artists, who just end up forgetting their craft, as life takes them over and pushes them into mundane jobs that smother their talent. I see young people who get married, get a mortgage, and get two car payments they cannot afford, thus chaining themselves to jobs they hate, just to keep up a miserable lifestyle.
All those scenarios are similar to Josh Gordon’s, as opportunities are wasted as well as talent. He is just playing at a high level in the most popular sport in America. His flippant attitude toward his opportunities is simply amplified. But he is just like a ton of other people we all know. Maybe that is why we give athletes such a hard time as fans. We see some of ourselves in them, both in their victories and in their defeats…..on and off the field of play.