Still, that doesn't mean you can put the two punishments in a bottle and compare Gordon to Rice. The NFL got the Josh Gordon ruling CORRECT. A three-time offender that can't stay clean for tests while on diversion that has seen escalating punishments after each offense deserves to be out for a year.
My main takeaway from the Josh Gordon incident is this - If you are paid millions of dollars to play a sport that you sign a contract for with a known stipulation for avoiding certain substances and you get caught consuming a substance that is getting more and more culturally accepted, that is still YOUR FAULT FOR VIOLATING A CONTRACT AND LEAGUE RULES. Deal with it (and fans need to realize that, too).
Dwayne Bowe is another perfect example. He cost himself $12 million in guaranteed money from violating a morality clause while headed to find a Sonic.
These tests are not all that random. Most collegiate programs that get "random tests" are tipped off in advance. I'd know, I've been in the room while athletes get told to get clean. The NFL, especially diversionary programs within the NFL, is no different. Life is about weighing the trade-offs. Few million to not smoke in a specific time period? C'mon.
Queue Stephen A Smith: