Addiction has destroyed many careers in the world of sports, sending a number of promising sportspersons into oblivion. But not all. There are also those who put up a strong fight to their urges and sought help, which brought them back from the darkness of addiction. NFL player Josh Gordon is one of those.
In a recent interview with the GQ magazine, the wide receiver for Cleveland Browns admitted to taking drugs and alcohol before every game he played. Taking substance was “a ritual before every game,” he told the magazine. Gordon used to sneak out and reach his home early in the morning, have breakfast, and do the ritual — take weed or alcohol — and return to play the game.
“And then, I’d definitely be partying after every game, win or lose. Every game,” said Gordon, who started taking drugs in the seventh grade. His substance abuse continued through college and his NFL career.
However, it couldn’t last long as the league got suspicious about Gordon’s behavior. “From the day they drafted me, they had to know there was some type of risk involved. I don’t think that they specifically knew. But I’m sure they had their doubts,” he said. He missed quite a few meetings, used to turn up late, and then with bloodshot eyes on several key occasions. But nothing came to the forefront, as nobody told him anything ever — all because of his extremely evasive nature.
Irate fans targeted his family
Gradually, as his fans learnt about Gordon’s addiction, they started troubling him and his family. In fact, his mother and brothers were often at the receiving end of the disgruntled fans’ outburst during the games. He had to move to Gainesville, Florida fearing more backlashes from his Browns fans in Cleveland.
“[My] brothers got into fights in the stands. Cars [have] been jumped on. Somebody dented the hood of the car. Had to sue a guy and get the money back ’cause he damaged the car. People are throwing money, pennies, to break the windows. So Cleveland was rough,” he said.
Rehab changed all
Gordon is a changed man now after having spent a long time in a rehab. During his stint at the rehab, he realized that life was difficult with addiction. He also understood that to live a happy and sober life, he must stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Addiction jeopardized Gordon’s glistening career. Though he has been trying to convince the league executives about his being able to attain sobriety, only time will tell whether he makes a successful comeback after his dalliance with drugs and alcohol. Earlier, he had faced a series of bans because of violating the league’s norms on substance abuse and was on and off the game for quite some time.
Dealing with addiction
Star performers can fade from public memory when addiction gets the better of them. Substance abuse is a scourge which may even prove to be fatal if not intervened at the right juncture. If you have a loved one grappling with an addiction, seek immediate help. With treatment, one can gain sobriety and realign to the mainstream.
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