Well, well, well, the NFL may have a soul after all. According to Pro Football Talk, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who you may remember as "that guy on the Browns that won me a fantasy football championship a few years ago", is conditionally reinstated as of today:
"The report said that Gordon has been suspended for the first four games of this season and that his reinstatement is conditional, but he can participate in training camp and be in meetings during his four-game suspension this year."
That little part at the end about being able to participate in team meetings with the Browns has irked quite a few Patriots fans, because according to a Boston Herald report, Tom Brady isn't allowed to meet with the Patriots, he's not allowed to talk with his teammates or coaches, and isn't even allowed to have the guys over to play some catch:
(also from Pro Football Talk)
"Not only is Brady not allowed to go to practices or team meetings during the four weeks when he's suspended, but he's not even allowed to have contact with coaches, or have a teammate over to his house to play catch."
"NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Boston Herald that if Brady wanted Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski or any other Patriot to come over to his house and help him stay sharp, the NFL would prohibit it. Brady can't "engage in any team football-related activities or discussions with teammates, even if away from the club facility."
Kind of sounds like some BS, right? Josh Gordon's failed multiple tests and been suspended a few times already, by the NFL and his own team, and yet he can participate in team meetings and Brady can't?
Fortunately, someone asked Albert Breer on Twitter what the deal was, and unfortunately for conspiracy theorists, it's not the NFL trying to screw the Patriots.
Substance-abuse suspensions allow for players to be at team facilities -- which is an effort to help guys get well. https://t.co/QmxDMOHIez— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 25, 2016
So, there's that. It's just the way rules for different types of suspensions are drawn up, and in this case, as much as it stinks for Brady to basically be exiled from the Patriots for the first four weeks of the season, there's nothing sketchy going on here. Since Josh Gordon was suspended under the NFL's substance abuse policy, those rules say he can still be at team facilities, and since Brady was suspended under, well, you know, "conduct detrimental to the league", he can't.
Thanks to the last few seasons, we're all so, so much more well-versed on NFL disciplinary procedures than we ever wanted to be.