We’ve picked up a little information regarding the specific arguments that could be made when the various players who were popped for Bumetanide present their appeals to the NFL.
The players who are fighting four-game suspensions include Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams, Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson, and a trio of Saints:  running back Deuce McAllister and defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith.
One of the primary arguments will be that the NFL has three prior inquiries regarding the StarCaps product, and that the league in each case said that StarCaps contained no banned substances.
As it turns out, StarCaps secretly contained Bumetanide, a diuretic that is now on the banned substances list.
It’s our understanding that a similar argument has been used on several occasions in the past to avoid player suspensions.
If so, then the well-known principle that players are responsible for that which is in their bodies has a fairly significant exception, and in our view it only seems fair that players would not be punished if they previously had been told by the NFL that the stuff they’re taking won’t trigger a violation of the rules.


  1. When were the inquiries? Bumetanide was identified in StarCaps in the Fall of ’07. If the inquiries were made prior to that, then the NFL might have correctly stated that no banned substances were in it and purchases should be okay. Any purchases after that and the players were on their own.

  2. the operative phrase here should then be: go and sin no more.
    the players have a case. a damn good one. to keep playing, but not necessarily against starcaps.

  3. Wow. . .if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that someone had mentioned this a couple of days ago. And by “someone,” I mean “me.”
    Common sense is awesome! I sure hope the NFL exercises it in this case.

  4. I don’t agree with the well-known principles if it can cost you part of your job or you money…The NFL banned these substances and if they are banned, the NFL should clearly state that is the case. In this case, it’s obvious that this product was not clearly stated that it was banned. “The NFL should stand up today and state, we messed up. No punishment is going to be dealt out. As of today, 16 November 2008, the product in question is now on the banned substance list. Anyone caught using this substance from here on out will be punished according to Marshall Roger Goodell.”
    I am sick of hearing about this story, but it does concern the Williams Wall, so I pay attention. For the uninformed football fan, this story makes these guys look bad. They played the game right and now face criticism for doing something that was legal.
    Yes, you could say that they are responsible for taking this thing…But they are not the makers of this product, nor are they scientists. They are football players who are getting punished for no reason. This effects not only the players in question, but the team in general. The NFL needs to fix this fast. If you suspend or penalize the players, (I don’t know how the NFL could, but I’ve seen stranger things), then do it. If you are not, publicly say so.
    I find it hard to believe that the NFL offices haven’t made a decision on this yet. I don’t know why it’s taking so long. If the result of this is a he said/she said, that doesn’t seem like enough justification to suspend someone.
    This makes the NFL look pretty bad right now.

  5. There NFLPA should demand that the players who were suspended for using StarCaps be recinded and ask for a clarification to the media because of the stigma that is associated with being suspended for banned substances (ie. your a steriod user).

  6. Why has this even been a story then? I do understand that we really shouldn’t have heard about any of this but someone slipped the info to a Denver reporter. Ok, so we heard the story even if we weren’t supposed to, then why has there even been any talk of suspensions? There’s got to be more to this story or else the NFL would have just dismissed the story as soon as it leaked.

  7. If there’s any single thing that has defined Goodell’s reign, it’s the constant floundering around trying to establish a consistent set of rules for players and teams to follow. Let’s count the ways.
    1. Spy gate. Reversed himself and quickly brushed this under the carpet.
    2. Pacman and his fellow turds. His handing of players is arguably the only thing consistent about his leadership.
    3. Ref criticisms. Very good at flip flopping here. Currently the policy can be likened to fine first and reverse later. Which, if you think about it, is pretty idiotic since the league does have time to think before settling on an actual course of action, case by case. So why are they reversing themselves?
    4. Banned substances. Another case of fine first think later. Common sense will tell you the onus lies on the league to validate/certify supplements and not on the player. Goodell is on the wrong side of this issue.
    5. Bad ownership/management crises. He stepped in with Green Bay over Favre, and I would guess with Detroit too (althought noone is saying). He leaves Oakland alone and doesn’t go near the Rooneys for the gambling non-compliance.
    6. Illegal hits. All over the map on this one.
    I’m not saying Goodell’s been a bad commish. I think he’s been a good one actually. What is clear though is that there are a lot of policy issues that were never thought out, and Goodell seems to be approaching these with a PR-first mindset. He also, unsurprisingly, is hands off with the old guard owners. My opinion is that he should recognize the one self-evidently successful thing he’s done (eg. handling of the turd players) was right because the principles were right. He needs to apply this thinking to the other areas where his policies have vacillated. The ref criticism one – he needs to recognize that an autocratic approach has no positive upside. The banned substance one – he needs to recognize that the players can only be as accountable as the league is. In short he needs to lead by example.

  8. I don’t know if the CBA says that the NFL must inform the players of a new substance that’s banned, but I don’t think so. I do know that it says that the players, not the NFL, are responsible for they put in their bodies and that it strongly recommends that no supplements be used at all.
    If the players in question could stay away from the table long enough so they don’t have to worry about the weight limits imposed by their contracts then they wouldn’t need to take the supplements. As far as I can see it the NFL is just enforcing the deal that every player agrees to when they sign their contract.

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