Josh vs. Josh. A Tale Of Sports, Drugs, Race And Judgment    

If you havent noticed, theres a tale of two Joshes many have ignored, especially since the baseball/football seasons have overlapped.

As Josh Hamliton prepares to help the Texas Rangers move on to the American League Championship Series, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon sits out the current NFL season.

Gordon and Hamilton.

Two Joshes.

Two star athletes and two careers derailed by drugs.

If youre keeping score at home, Hamilton is a cocaine user. Gordon has smoked weed. Hamilton is pitied. Gordon is pilloried.

Gordon and Hamilton were ballyhooed prospects when they let drugs and alcohol dominate their lives, but that’s where the similarities end in how media covered them.

Hamilton recently confessed to MLB that he used drugs and alcohol. Earlier this season, an independent arbitrator ruled than MLB couldnt suspended him. The Angels, along with MLB, who has a history of uneven suspensions, called BS on the ruling:

“It defies logic that Josh’s reported behavior is not a violation of his current program, team president John Carpino told reporters. He went on to say that the team has serious concerns about Josh’s conduct, health and behavior, and we are disappointed that he has broken an important commitment, which he made to himself, his family, his teammates and our fans.”

Once the Angels realized that their hands were tied, they traded Hamilton to the Texas Rangers, the team he resurrected his career with.

Hamiltons rise from drug addict to American League MVP was the stuff of legend. After years of staying clean, Hamilton started to become the player most thought he would be.

Hamilton failed his first drug test in 2003. Next, MLB suspended him for the season after he failed two additional drug tests. He was out of baseball for nearly three years when the Cincinnati Reds gave him a shot to continue his career. Before Hamiltons recent setback, he relapsed in 2009 when he admitted that several photos posted by Deadspin.com was of him shirtless in a Tempe, Arizona bar drinking with several women.

Back in 2012, Hamilton was in talks to have a movie adaptation of the book he co-wrote about his life called Beyond Belief: Finding The Strength To Come Back. The movie was supposed to take an angle demonstrating Hamiltons Christian faith.


Gordons troubles started when he was in college at Baylor University. In 2010, Gordon was found asleep by police in a teammates car when they found weed. A year later, Gordon was kicked off the team after testing positive for weed. Like Hamilton, he stayed clean for a stretch. He eventually made the Pro Bowl in 2013, only to go through a series of suspensions due to failed drug tests which ultimately culminated into him being suspended for the 2015 season.

I often debate with my friends about the role journalism has in shaping opinions. They say that the media can make one guy look bad while another is raked through the coals. They’re right. After all, when typing Josh Hamiltons name in a Google search engine earlier this year, his team photo came up. When I did the same for Josh Gordon, a picture of his mugshot came up.

One of might say thats an indication on how a narrative, or a search engine, can shape public opinion.

For some reason, the Rangers outfielder is getting the benefit of a doubt that the Cleveland Browns wide receiver has yet to receive.

For instance, Nancy Armour, a USA Today columnist, says Hamilton needs help, not punishment. Bleacher Reports lead MLB columnist Scott Miller, believes the former the AL MVP is a tortured soul in need of a warm hug. A Washington Post columnist even suggested that Hamiltons recent relapse mightve been the result of boredom during shoulder rehab.

But in regards to the other Josh, the coverage hasnt been as positive.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPNs First Take said after Gordons latest suspension that he was done with him. He went on to say that he harbors no sympathy whatsoever.

Cris Carter, an ESPN NFL analyst who had similar problems during his own NFL career, told an ESPN radio show that the people around Gordon are culpable:

Everyone wants to keep coddling him, the same way they did in high school, the same thing they did at Baylor, where he had problems. Eventually its going to blow up. Now its blowing up in the National Football League, and his career is in jeopardy.

In case you’re wondering, this is when we ought to wonder why most journalists haven’t looked into Hamilton’s upbringing or the music he listens to, much like they did for countless numbers of Black people who end up on the wrong side of police and “concerned” citizen encounters.

Some may not want to admit it but when whites engage in drug and alcohol abuse, it is viewed in a much different light than when African-Americans who do the same. Here in America, victim-shamimg and past drug use are often reported before any information is given on the people most responsible. Incidents involving Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott and Sandra Bland made news of past marijuana use and an assault charge in order to make them seem responsible for their alleged aggressiveness.

One of the few to explore this polarizing realm of possibility was Jamil Smith of The New Republic. Smith said in his article that media members and analysts view Gordon as the kind of young black man who in a different context might be blithely labeled at risk, as if the most risk he causes is to you, not him. Smith went on to say that Typically, that is a way to make a young black man like Gordon invisible under the guise of caring about his wellbeing. Alas, he is paid millions to catch footballs for a living, and so a few of those fellow black men who are paid to pontificate on sports have shown a particular interest in saving him.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports believes that Hamilton was victim of a Public Trial. He also called on media members to apologize to Hamilton when he said who will apologize to him for the public embarrassment and humiliation he has endured?

Many African-American athletes know that feeling well. However, no one is asked to write columns asking the masses to apologize to them (Editors note: maybe we should).

Before you start to call me a race baiter (not sure what that is exactly), look at these tweets before you start:


Heres Gottliebs tweet from months earlier when Gordons suspension was handed down:


When news of Hamiltons latest setback hit the masses, phrases like, Pray for him and He cant beat his demons were used. When Gordon had his transgressions, he was labeled as Weed head and a thug.

Our nations capital decriminalized lower amounts of weed last year. The law took effect in March of this year. Meanwhile in Ohio, the Browns home state has decriminalized weed while Gordons home state of Texas has not.

If you have ever been around someone who has a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse, youre aware that things are going to get worse before they get better. Knowing that, why were Hamiltons recent struggles viewed as a surprise to many while Gordons recent suspension received so much vitriol? That may have to do with who is most likely to get busted or fail to pass a drop.


The ethnic backgrounds of people who use drugs recreationally is pretty diverse. However, the demographic of people who fill up Americas courthouses and prisons for drug arrests are young African-American males.

According to a study done by the Drug Policy Alliance, more than 1.5 million drug arrests are made every year in the U.S. the overwhelming majority for possession only.

The study went on to say that the drug war has led to unprecedented levels of incarceration and the marginalization of tens of millions of Americans disproportionately poor people and people of color- while utterly failing to reduce problematic drug use and drug-related harms. The severe consequences of a drug arrest are long-lasting sometimes life-long. Drug courts, moreover, have not improved matters.”

That statement pretty much backs up why most people would connect reckless drug use to someone like Gordon instead of Hamilton, who seems to have a much more prolific history of drug use. While the former Pro Bowler hasnt helped his cause, he hasnt deserved the slander hes experienced thus far.

Gordons piece for the Cauldron backs up those sentiments:

I make no excuses for my past. That culture didnt make me do anything I didnt want to do, but when you judge me without actually knowing me, you deny the existence of the world I come from.

How much is this really about drugs vs race? It appears to dominate the discussion. Will changing laws about weed make things easier for the Gordons’ of the future? Probably not.

No matter how any of us feel about the two, one thing is certain, both of the Joshes need help.

Just as Hamilton and Gordon need to change their habits, we as journalists and fans, need to do some rehabilitation of our own.


Related Articles


  1. You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I to find this topic to be actually something that I believe I’d never understand. It kind of feels too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next publish, I¦ll try to get the hang of it!

  2. Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your web-site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched all over the place and simply could not come across. What an ideal web-site.

  3. Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too wonderful. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it sensible. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a wonderful site.

  4. I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

  5. This is the fitting blog for anybody who needs to find out about this topic. You realize so much its nearly onerous to argue with you (not that I really would need…HaHa). You positively put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just nice!

  6. A person necessarily assist to make severely posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I amazed with the research you made to create this actual submit extraordinary. Wonderful activity!

  7. Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog website? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

  8. Hello There. I discovered your blog the usage of msn. That is an extremely neatly written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your helpful info. Thank you for the post. I’ll definitely return.

  9. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything. However just imagine if you added some great photos or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this blog could undeniably be one of the most beneficial in its field. Amazing blog!

  10. Howdy very nice website!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionallyKI am glad to search out a lot of helpful information here within the submit, we’d like work out more strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  11. Nearly all of whatever you mention happens to be astonishingly appropriate and it makes me wonder why I hadn’t looked at this in this light before. Your article really did turn the light on for me as far as this subject matter goes. Nonetheless at this time there is actually just one position I am not really too comfy with so while I try to reconcile that with the main theme of your point, allow me observe exactly what the rest of your subscribers have to point out.Nicely done.

  12. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch! “Remember It is 10 times harder to command the ear than to catch the eye.” by Duncan Maxwell Anderson.

  13. Hi , I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbled upon it on Yahoo , i will come back once again. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and help other people.

  14. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your content seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue solved soon. Many thanks

  15. I?¦m now not positive where you’re getting your information, however good topic. I must spend a while finding out more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful info I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  16. I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented in your post. They are really convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for novices. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  17. Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! “How beautiful maleness is, if it finds its right expression.” by D. H. Lawrence.

  18. We are a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with helpful info to paintings on. You have done a formidable activity and our entire group will probably be thankful to you.

  19. I and my pals were actually checking out the great suggestions on your site and then at once I got a terrible suspicion I never expressed respect to the website owner for those strategies. Most of the women became certainly warmed to see them and already have pretty much been taking pleasure in these things. Appreciate your truly being so helpful and then for pick out such important subjects most people are really eager to discover. Our own honest regret for not saying thanks to earlier.

  20. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Outstanding work!

  21. I was extremely pleased to uncover this great site. I want to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and I have you book marked to check out new stuff on your site.|

  22. Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

  23. I¦ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this web site. Studying this info So i¦m satisfied to show that I’ve a very just right uncanny feeling I came upon just what I needed. I most indubitably will make certain to do not forget this site and give it a glance regularly.

  24. It¦s in reality a nice and helpful piece of information. I¦m glad that you just shared this useful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  26. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  27. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  28. always i used to read smaller articles or reviews which also clear their motive, and that is also happening with this paragraph which I am reading here.|

  29. I am really loving the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A handful of my blog readers have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?

  30. Together with everything that appears to be building throughout this area, a significant percentage of viewpoints are somewhat stimulating. However, I appologize, because I can not give credence to your whole suggestion, all be it exciting none the less. It appears to everybody that your comments are not completely justified and in actuality you are generally your self not completely certain of the argument. In any event I did take pleasure in reading through it.

  31. Hi I am so excited I found your site, I really found you by mistake, while I was researching on Bing for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a marvelous post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the superb job.

  32. That is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!|

  33. Hi there would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a reasonable price? Many thanks, I appreciate it!

  34. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I’m very glad to see such fantastic information being shared freely out there.

  35. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such fantastic information being shared freely out there.

  36. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Ie. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the issue solved soon. Kudos

  37. Hey I am so excited I found your weblog, I really found you by accident, while I was researching on Digg for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say many thanks for a remarkable post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.

  38. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just too great. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a tremendous website.

  39. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

  40. I am extremely impressed with your writing talents and also with the format on your blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you customize it your self? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to look a great weblog like this one nowadays..

  41. I am curious to find out what blog platform you’re using? I’m having some minor security problems with my latest website and I would like to find something more secure. Do you have any suggestions?

  42. I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can not find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  43. I haven?¦t checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I?¦ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  44. Attractive portion of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to claim that I get actually enjoyed account your weblog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing for your feeds and even I success you access constantly rapidly.

  45. Fantastic blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get suggestions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

  46. I’m typically to running a blog and i really admire your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your website and preserve checking for new information.

  47. Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a weblog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit familiar of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  48. I do love the way you have framed this matter and it really does provide me personally a lot of fodder for consideration. Nevertheless, because of what I have personally seen, I just wish as the actual remarks pile on that people today stay on issue and not get started upon a tirade associated with some other news of the day. All the same, thank you for this exceptional point and whilst I can not really agree with the idea in totality, I respect your point of view.

  49. Very efficiently written article. It will be valuable to everyone who usess it, as well as me. Keep doing what you are doing – can’r wait to read more posts.

  50. Hi there very cool web site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally?KI’m happy to find a lot of helpful information here in the submit, we need develop extra techniques on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  51. Good ?V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs and related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task..

  52. Terrific paintings! That is the kind of information that are meant to be shared across the web. Shame on Google for no longer positioning this submit upper! Come on over and discuss with my web site . Thank you =)

  53. I want to express my appreciation for your kind-heartedness giving support to all those that need help with the content. Your very own dedication to getting the message across appeared to be astonishingly informative and have in most cases helped professionals just like me to get to their targets. Your own helpful tips and hints signifies a whole lot to me and still more to my mates. Many thanks; from all of us.

  54. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, amazing site!

  55. I cling on to listening to the rumor lecture about receiving free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the best site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i get some?

  56. Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I am impressed! Very useful information particularly the closing section 🙂 I take care of such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  57. I conceive this site has got some rattling good information for everyone :D. “The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth.” by Edith Sitwell.

  58. Hi, Neat post. There’s an issue along with your site in internet explorer, might check thisK IE still is the marketplace chief and a good portion of people will leave out your great writing because of this problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker