SBD/February 9, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Minnesota Court Rules NFL Can Suspend Vikings Players Over StarCaps

Pat, Kevin Williams tested positive for ingredient in StarCaps in '08
The Minnesota Court of Appeals "declined Tuesday to block the NFL's long-fought suspensions" of Vikings DTs Kevin and Pat Williams for using StarCaps, "leaving the players to decide whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court," according to Simons & Zulgad of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The court said that because the StarCaps ingredient for which they tested positive does not fall under the state's workplace drug-testing law, the NFL's "failure to follow that law's worker-notification requirements does not give state courts a basis to prevent the league's punishment." But the court also said that the NFL is "subject to state law when testing players for other, covered drugs, such as anabolic steroids." The Williamses "tested positive in July 2008 for bumetanide," an "unlisted ingredient in the over-the-counter weight-loss supplement StarCaps." The players' attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said that he would "consult with his clients before they decide in the next couple of days whether to appeal" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/9).

GIVING UP THE QUEST: In St. Paul, Brian Murphy reports Pat Williams is "ready to accept the league's punishment and miss the start of the 2011 season." Williams, an "imminent free agent," said that he "does not expect to" challenge the court's ruling. Williams: "Right now, I want it to be over because it's cost me so much money, close to $1 million (in legal fees). It ain't cheap. ... The only person getting anything out of keeping on fighting is the lawyers." NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello "declined to say whether the NFL would suspend the players next season," along with Saints DE Will Smith, "whose similar punishment league Commissioner Roger Goodell deferred until the Williamses' case was resolved" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/9). In N.Y., Ken Belson writes the ruling is an "apparent victory for the NFL," as the decision "makes it less likely that other players will make similar legal challenges if they are suspended by the league for taking banned substances" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/9).
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