Gordon delay could make it easier to get an injunction
It’s not known whether Browns receiver Josh Gordon will go the StarCaps route if/when he’s officially suspended for a year, filing a lawsuit attacking the arbitration decision and seeking a preliminary injunction that would allow him to play until the litigation ends.
If Gordon chooses to go that route, the 22-days-and-counting lag since the completion of his appeal hearing could actually help his cause.
Gordon may have a hard time conjuring an argument or two that would prompt a court to take the fairly extraordinary step of eventually overturning the outcome of a private arbitration proceeding, since private arbitration proceedings tend to keep plenty of cases out of the court system. But the NFL’s inexplicable failure to reach on a more timely basis what should be a very straightforward decision could make the judge who is asked to prevent the suspension from being implemented a bit more sympathetic to Gordon’s plight.
The delayed issuance of the decision by hearing officer Harold Henderson will put more pressure the judge to whom the case would be assigned to process the facts, to research the law, and to make a fair and proper decision as to whether Gordon should be allowed to play pending a final ruling in the case. And the judge to whom the case is assigned could blame the NFL for dragging its feet, which could make the judge more favorable to Gordon’s cause. Which eventually could make Gordon available to play for most or all of the 2014 season.
Again, it’s not known whether Gordon will choose to take the NFL to court. With each passing day, his case for an order allowing him to play until the case ends could be getting stronger. It’s definitely not getting any weaker.
In the end, Gordon may still be suspended for a full year. However, like the StarCaps plaintiffs several years ago, Gordon may be able to delay indefinitely the start of the banishment.