What Josh Gordon’s struggles mean for the NFL

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Joe Broback

Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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Josh Gordon announced that he was stepping away from football to focus on his mental health. Gordon faces another suspension, and it could be the end of his career. Fans and media members  will criticize him, and I’m sure the New England Patriots organization is disappointed. The thing is, Josh Gordon is an example of why it’s important to take mental health seriously.

With all of the debate over concussions already raging within the NFL, many things get pushed to the side. Mental health often gets ignored in sports because athlete’s “don’t deal with these issues.” However, NBA players like Kevin Love and Demar DeRozan spoke about their mental health issues, and promoted that others seek help who need it. Gordon is the most prominent case in the NFL, where mental health means talking about hits to the head. Mental health takes on another meaning now. 

Will the NFL help?

Josh Gordon isn’t a bad person because of his struggles with substance abuse, and not a bad person for stepping away from the game. Gordon’s case reminds us that your mental health is more important than playing football. Like any injury, being unstable mentally has drastic effects on a player’s abilities. Gordon, unfortunately, found out the hard way.

The NFL continually protects the shield more than helping their own players, and mental health is the latest issue. With the concussions and the national anthem already providing problems, mental health doesn’t seem important to the shield. Mental health isn’t something you can ignore, and I hope that more teams can intervene with future cases before it’s too late.

Josh Gordon, unfortunately, became the most prominent NFL player when it comes to mental health. His career potentially shortened because he didn’t get the proper help when these issues began. Nearly 44 million Americans struggle with mental health problems, with many more unreported. Unfortunately, each NFL team faces the responsibility of helping their players, since the NFL won’t.

Josh Gordon’s unique case provides an example for other athletes. His latest exit from football reminds us that athletes battle demons just like you and me. Could this be a new issue for the NFL? Maybe. If the NFL wants to help their players, it won’t be, but their track record hasn’t been good so far.

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