CANTON — Before Friday’s Nitschke Luncheon at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which welcomes the Class of 2014, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is still going through the appeals process.
"I am not a part of that process. At some point in time, I may have an opportunity to be involved. When I am, I look forward to meeting with him," Goodell said.
According to various reports, Gordon’s appeal hearing was taking place today in New York. Gordon faces a one-year suspension for failing his third drug test.
Friday also marked the first time that Goodell has spoken since Ray Rice’s two-game suspension was announced. The Ravens running back was suspended due to violation of the personal conduct policy. Goodell and the league have taken heat for the suspension being only two games due to it being domestic violence-related.
Said Goodell about the suspension: "When we’re going through the process of evaluating the issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that you have available to us. Law enforcement normally has more — on a normal basis — has more information, facts, than we have. We’ll get as much as we possibly can. And then you also have the opportunity to sit down with the individual, and maybe others, to determine how that individual is reacting to it.
"I think what’s important here is that Ray has taken responsibility for this. He’s been accountable for his actions. He recognizes he made a horrible mistake, that it is unacceptable, by his standards and by our standards. And he’s got to work to re-establish himself. The criminal justice system, as you know, put him in a diversionary program with no discipline, and we felt it was appropriate to have discipline, and to continue counseling programs and to continue our education work. And I was also very impressed with Ray in the sense that he not only is accepting this issue, and saying how it was wrong, but he’s saying "I want to make a powerful difference in this area." I think you heard from him yesterday. He is a young man that really understands the mistake he made and he is out and about and determined to make a positive difference."
Goodell was also asked about consistency on punishments and how Rice could receive only two games while Gordon is facing a year. Goodell pointed out that the drug program is collectively bargained and that this was Rice’s first offense.
On other matters, Goodell said he will be getting an update on the Buffalo Bills sales process next week and that the league continues to talk to the FCC about the blackout policy, which is up for review. The FCC has recommended getting rid of it.
"We are concerned that a change in this area, we are 99 percent sold out, so it has very little impact on our business, but it could have an impact on the overall business model for free television. We think that’s devastating to our consumers and consumers in general," Goodell said.