After today, a lot of us have changed our feelings about Josh Gordon. I was a huge backer of him, and have defended him every step of the way even before this most recent news came out.

His letter was nothing short of beautiful.

“The thing is, though, you don’t even know me.”

And it’s true, we don’t know Josh Gordon. We didn’t know much about his past.How he grew up in poverty,

How some nights there was no food, no lights, and no hot water.

How the culture among teenagers was completely different in Fondren, Houston than in 2015 Cleveland (and area suburbs), Ohio.

When Josh brought up the fact that he didn’t turn to a life of violence, like most of his friends did, it showed just how much he’s accomplished by even making it to the NFL.

Openly, Gordon admits his mistakes. From smoking, to taking banned codeine medicine, to inhaling 2nd-hand marijuana, to drunk driving and now to having a few beers when he wasn’t supposed to.

“Again, I make no excuses for my past. That culture didn’t make me do anything I didn’t want to do, but when you judge me without actually knowing me, you deny the existence of the world I come from.”

Every day, without even knowing it, we judge others before getting to know them. Think about how much is involved in one person’s life – physical appearance, mental health, age,  family, friends, school, work, finances, lifestyle, secrets…do you get the point?

Now we’re all guilty of this. And I’m not about to give you some sentimental speech saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.” We all do it, and that’s never going to change. In reality, it’s not always a bad thing. Most of the time it’s harmless. But today we found out a massive part of Josh Gordon’s life that we didn’t know about. And it clearly attributes to the way he acts, and the decisions he makes today.

Not an excuse – just a fact.

“My primary concern was — and is — being the best football player I can be.”

Josh Gordon is an amazing football player.

He will definitely get his act together, and he will turn his life around. These have been a series of bad judgement calls, stupid decisions that were impulsively made by a young man that hasn’t been able to handle the pressure of following the strict rules and restrictions of the NFL, after a childhood of no reservations.

However, from this letter we learn that Gordon is not a dangerous individual, he’s not a locker room toxin or cancer, and most importantly – there is HOPE that he will find his way and sustain a successful career for many years to come.

Love ya, Josh.

-Zach Shafron

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