A Minnesota judge ruled Thursday that the NFL can suspend Vikings DTs Kevin Williams and Pat Williams four games apiece to start the season for violating the league’s anti-doping policy.
The league first attempted to suspend the players in December 2008 when they each tested positive for a banned substance, a StarCaps weight-loss product. The players appealed, arguing that the NFL broke state labor laws with the drug policy.
After a long legal battle, Judge Gary Larson said in a 27-page ruling that the NFL failed to notify the two players within three days of their failed tests, which is required by the Drug Testing in the Workplace Act. But Larson also ruled that they are not entitled to damages because the Williamses “did not suffer any harm from the delay of notice.”
The players have appealed the ruling. Larson will hold a hearing this afternoon, which will decide whether to grant the players a temporary injunction pending an appeal. That, for now, opened the door slightly for the league to suspend the players again.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith issued a statement following the judge's ruling. It read: “We have seen the ruling in the StarCaps case and will continue to review and monitor its events closely. The NFL Players Association has always believed in and supported the collectively bargained drug policy as the most effective way to protect the players and the game. This policy is the most effective in sports when both sides strictly adhere to it and it is fairly applied.”
So far, neither the league nor the Vikings have issued any statements.
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