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NFL wants Supreme Court to reverse StarCaps ruling

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By PFW staff

The NFL has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that allowed Vikings DTs Kevin Williams and Pat Williams to sue the league and challenge their four-game suspensions for violating the NFL’s anti-drug policy.

In its filing on Thursday, the league has argued that the National Labor Relations Act protects its collectively bargained drug policy with the players’ union from lawsuits in state courts.

This comes a week after a Minnesota county judge ruled against the two players, paving the way for the NFL to suspend them for four games apiece for failing a drug test administered in 2008. The Williamses tested positive for a banned diuretic — bumetanide — that was not listed on the label of a weight-loss supplement, StarCaps. Although the product is not considered a steroid, it is often used as a masking agent for performance-enhancing drugs.

The players sued to block their suspensions, saying that the league broke Minnesota state labor laws with its drug policy. But the NFL wants the Supreme Court to overturn a federal judge’s decision last year that sent the case to state court.

Since the players first tested positive, the case has dragged on for 18 months. The Williamses played last season, helping the Vikings to reach the NFC title game in January.


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