Stephen A. Smith apologized Thursday before sharing his stance on the Josh Gordon situation.
Because while Smith acknowledged Gordon deserves some compassion while stepping away from football to focus on his mental health, the polarizing ESPN pundit also couldn’t help but voice displeasure over the number of opportunities the talented wide receiver has wasted.
“I’d just like to apologize to everybody this show ahead of time, because I’m pissed. I’m just going to say it. I’m disgusted,” Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” shortly after news broke that Gordon was leaving the New England Patriots indefinitely and reportedly faces a suspension for violating terms of his reinstatement under the NFL’s substance abuse policy. “I am sick and tired of this guy getting chances.”
By now, Gordon’s history is well-documented. He spent six-plus years with the Cleveland Browns, at times flashing his immense potential — most notably in 2013, when he caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards with nine touchdowns. But he struggled to stay on the field, serving multiple suspensions, and ultimately was traded to the Patriots in September.
On the surface, things had been going swimmingly in New England, with Gordon drawing rave reviews from his coaches and quarterback Tom Brady. But now, with Gordon stepping away, it’s fair to wonder whether his NFL career is over at age 27. And that’s just sad, as Smith notes.
“Now, we can sit up there and say, ‘He’s an addict.’ And if you want to sit up there and look at it from that perspective — because that is the reality — I understand those who call for a degree and a level of compassion,” Smith said. “But what I would ask people is, think for one second: We know what he’s done to himself, we know how tragic that is, we know what he’s cost himself dollars-wise, we know what he’s done to his life, we know how it’s compromised his family life. We get all of that. And that’s obviously a very, very sad thing that garners all of our contrition to some degree. But the other thing is: Look at the amount of people this man has turned down.
“I don’t want to say anything else, because I’m so disgusted at such wasted talent — such wasted talent, or wasted opportunity.”
Gordon totaled 40 catches for 720 yards with three touchdowns in 11 games with the Patriots this season. New England’s receiving corps now is stretched thin following his departure.