Josh Gordon is a superstar wide receiver for the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns. In 2013, he led the league with 1,646 receiving yards despite playing in only 14 games, and added nine touchdown receptions. He even became the first receiver in league history to record back-to-back 200-yard games.
But there’s another side to Josh Gordon. His off-the-field exploits have been well-documented, and they now have him sidelined for the entire 2014 season. His August suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy means he cannot play in the team’s games; he is not allowed to practice with the team; and he cannot attend team meetings.
A New Job for Josh Gordon
Enter the Sarchione Auto Group, based in Randolph, Ohio (near Akron), which has a Ford dealership, a Chevrolet store and a used-car center. Knowing Gordon suddenly has a good bit of time on his hands, they reached out to him and have negotiated a deal. They’ll teach Gordon the car business, and in return he will sell vehicles and engage the community through his celebrity status as an NFL star.
It’s an interesting and calculated move by the Sarchione family to be sure. Any sports fan would certainly be attracted to the possibility of car shopping at a place where the local professional sports hero resided. It also might be a way to help Josh Gordon himself, keeping him from getting into further trouble, and helping him prepare for a post-NFL career in the car business.
What happens from here is entirely up to Josh Gordon. Can he immerse himself in the car business for 12 months and return next year to the NFL with a greater appreciation of what a privilege it is to play in that league? He is such an enormous talent, it would be a shame if he doesn’t make the most of his year away from football.
There is no right or wrong answer to the following question, but it’s one that is interesting to think about: If your dealership had the opportunity to add a celebrity like Josh Gordon, warts and all, to your organization … would you do it?
(Note: The NFL Players Association is voting this week on an all-new drug policy. Should it be accepted, there are rumblings that Gordon’s suspension could be reduced or eliminated altogether, allowing him to return to the Browns sooner than expected.)
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