According to an ESPN report, Browns receiver Josh Gordon is facing a season-long NFL ban for a drug test that came up positive for marijuana.
It's Gordon's second failed test. (The first was announced last summer—Gordon claimed it was codeine from his cough medicine—and he served a two-game suspension.)
How the league gets to 16 games from two failed tests is anyone's guess. We dove into this a bit last year, but the NFL's drug policy is secretive and impenetrable, and covers much more than just failed tests. There are "stages," a player's progression through which are reliant on behavioral clauses and compliance (or lack thereof) with treatment plans as determined by league doctors. Different stages mean different testing protocols and disciplinary options. Here's what happens in Stage 3:
A player who fails to cooperate with testing, treatment, evaluation or other requirements imposed on him by this Policy or fails to comply with his Treatment Plan, both as determined by the Medical Director, or who has a Positive Test, will be banished from the NFL for a minimum period of one calendar year.
Gordon has the right to appeal his punishment, and will presumably exercise it.
The ESPN report claims Gordon was informed of his potential year-long exile in late April, and the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot says the Browns learned of it around the same time. Which isn't to say Cleveland should have taken Sammy Watkins with the fourth pick in last night's draft. Yes, it'd be nice for Johnny Manziel to have a speedy receiver right away, but it's not as if the Browns were going to be Super Bowl contenders this year. Gordon's rookie deal runs through the 2015-16 season.
In conclusion, athletes should be allowed to smoke as much marijuana as they want, any time they want.