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The Williams Wall Still Has A Case

For a guy who has practiced law nearly 18 years and who has followed the NFL for twice that amount of time, the periodic intersection of the two topics might prompt the question, “Is that a gavel in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”
I’ve read every word of the 23-page opinion filed Friday by Judge Paul Magnuson in the StarCaps case.  In lieu of writing one exhaustive post regarding what the opinion says and what it means, I’ll break it into several different blurbs.
For starters, Vikings fans should take heart.  Defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams might still be available to play all 16 games this season.
The primary problem with the entire case (as I’ll explain in a subsequent post) is that the NFL Players Association challenged a drug testing program and discipline procedure to which the NFLPA agreed through collective bargaining.  And since the program arose from collective bargaining and culminated in an arbitration decision that, as the union and the league agreed, was binding, not many avenues existed for overturning the outcome.
As a result, the league’s statement regarding the outcome is not surprising:  “The decision strongly supports the NFL program on performance enhancing substances that protects the health and safety of NFL players and the integrity of our game.”
But the decision doesn’t completely support the league’s program on performance enhancing substances.
Collective bargaining agreements between management and employees supersede most “common-law claims,” which is the name given to legal theories developed and refined by courts through the resolution of specific disputes over a period of many years.  However, a CBA cannot overcome clear rights given to employees through statutes enacted by the state legislature and signed into law by the governor.
In Minnesota, Kevin and Pat Williams have two separate statutory claims that will be sent back to Minnesota state court (where the judges are elected by the local citizens, most of whom are Vikings fans).
One claim arises under the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act.  As explained by Judge Magnuson, this law confines employee drug testing in Minnesota to the specific procedures permitted by the law itself.  In other words, any testing or discipline not permitted by the law is not permitted.
As further explained by Judge Magnuson, the law prohibits employers from imposing discipline based on a single positive test.
Here, Kevin and Pat Williams tested positive only once, and under the league’s policy regarding anabolic steroids and related substances, a four-game suspension arises from that first positive test.
The law also gives employees the right to explain any positive test.
Here, no one has doubted that the players have a pretty good explanation for testing positive for a prescription diuretic that secretly had been added to the supplement known as StarCaps.  The players were suspended not because they knowingly ingested a banned substance, but because the strict-liability policy to which their union agreed mandates suspension even if, for example, a closet Packers fan working beverage detail had slipped a banned substance into their Pepsi at a Minneapolis restaurant.
On the surface, then, it appears that the players still have a pretty good argument for avoiding a four-game suspension for an initial positive test.
Also, the Minnesota Consumable Products Act prohibits employers from taking action against employees who have “engaged in the use or enjoyment of lawful consumable products, if the use or enjoyment takes place off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours.”
In English, this means that Vikings players are entitled, per Minnesota statutory law, to consume away from the workplace and on their own time any supplements sold legally and lawfully.  The fact that the U.S. government has done a traditionally dreadful job of regulating the supplement industry is not something for which Vikings players or other Minnesota employees are responsible.  Under the Consumable Products Act, employees are entitled to consume on their own time and off the employer’s premises anything that can be legally purchased.
Although a literal application of this law would cause problems if, while parked on a public street ten minutes before his shift starts, an employee chugs a twelve-pack of beer, no such extreme twist or tweak applies in this case.
Bottom line?  The case filed by these two starting defensive tackles for the Vikings will now return to a Minnesota state court for their state-law claims to be resolved.  Ultimately, the issue could be decided in part by a former starting defensive tackle for the Vikings who holds a seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court:  Alan Page.
(Curiously, the lawyer representing Kevin and Pat Williams asked Judge Magnuson to keep the case in federal pursuant to the concept of “supplemental jurisdiction,” even though the lawyer initially filed the case in Minnesota state court.  Our guess is that the lawyer was sufficiently confident that Judge Magnuson would have blocked the suspensions pending resolution of the state-law claims — and likely would have ruled in the players’ favor on the merits of the state-law claims.)
The next skirmish in this case likely will involve a request for the same “preliminary injunction” that the federal court imposed in December.  This would allow the players to continue to participate in games pending the ultimate outcome of the case.
Of course, the NFL could chose to appeal that specific portion of the ruling and ask that all of the Williamses’ claims be pitched.  It will be an uphill battle, however.  The principles applied by Judge Magnuson in preserving the state-law claims are generally recognized by federal courts throughout the nation, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, our guess is that the NFL promptly will ask its lawyers to research the employee drug-testing laws for the 20 other states in which NFL teams are headquartered.  It’s possible that both the steroids policy and the substance abuse policy ultimately will have to be revised to mesh with any applicable statutes passed by any state in which an NFL team plays its games.  Until that happens, there’s a chance that certain players in certain states will have strong arguments to avoid the discipline that the league’s policies mandate.

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50 Responses to “The Williams Wall Still Has A Case”
  1. tbor says: May 23, 2009 10:10 AM

    I fail to see how that matters. The players agreed to a more stringent standard. What good is this contract that the players association and NFL made if the players are going to go back on their word?

  2. 4Ever Viking says: May 23, 2009 10:11 AM

    So if it known that they weren’t taking steroids, then they didn’t violate NFL rules. The spirit of the NFL rule to catch those who use performance enhancing drugs, which these guys weren’t. So, what is the problem? Defintely this case doesn’t qualify for a 4 game suspension???

  3. drunkhaloplayer says: May 23, 2009 10:24 AM

    Nice breakdown Florio… I hope the Wall wins this thing!!

  4. Bob_Nelson says: May 23, 2009 10:28 AM

    You cannot have a competitive football league if some states have laws against steroids and others permit such performance enhancers.
    How can a CBA be negotiated if the rules are not the same for all teams?
    The NFL has it’s rules for participation in their workplace.
    There is no reason that employers should be required to hire substance abusers.
    What is next?
    People in whellchairs suing the league for not letting them play in the NFL and redifining when they go out of bounds?
    Age discrimination claims for players over 30 who are cut?
    Injunctions against any penalties being called because it discriminates against those with an anti-social personality?

  5. shrike3000 says: May 23, 2009 10:33 AM

    How does this affect the Saints players, if at all?

  6. hrmlss says: May 23, 2009 10:42 AM

    So if a state law says an employer is due reimbursement on prepaid salary from an employee that is terminated for cause, Plaxico, Vick, T.O. etc…) then the teams can take back bonus money no matter what the CBA says about it? The players better be careful what can of worms they open. This could be a Pandora’s box.

  7. ben1332 says: May 23, 2009 10:50 AM

    At what point did it say that some states have laws against steroids and others don’t? Must be a Packer fan.

  8. Bob_Nelson says: May 23, 2009 10:56 AM

    Imagine the response years ago if the East German Olympic team had said we did not know that we were taking a steroid masking agent.
    They refused to accept the Olympic committee discipline and appealed the matter to East German Courts.
    Would there be a fairness issue? Would the Olypic committee have to obey the East German “Court ruling”?
    Why should the NFL have to abide by a Minnesota state court ruling?

  9. Matches_Malone says: May 23, 2009 10:57 AM

    As hrmlss said this could be a Pandora’s box. Would this mean that the NFLPA and the NFL not only have to negotiate a master agreement but supplemental agreements based on regions as well? This would be the only way for the NFL to protect themselves against different laws in different states.

  10. gyldenlove says: May 23, 2009 11:00 AM

    So if the Williamses can’t be suspended in Minnesota, could they be suspended elsewhere? could they risk missing 4 away games since the suspension would hold up in other states, given that they would be suspended by the NFL which presumably is not based in Minnesota.

  11. chcgokoala says: May 23, 2009 11:05 AM

    You mean they still have a case of starcaps left? You’d thought they wolfed it down long time ago.

  12. pboom says: May 23, 2009 11:08 AM

    As he proves in this posting: I hope no one ever calls Mike Florio an idiot again.

  13. skinnysweatyman3 says: May 23, 2009 11:10 AM

    That’s an awful lot of words there.

  14. lt2_3 says: May 23, 2009 11:13 AM

    2 thoughts
    1. If this holds up, it might hasten the Vikes departure from Minnesota
    2. I think the key will be the exclusions in the MDAT. There are exclusions for Federal law and contracts. I think that indicates that the law itself suggests that the CBA takes precedence.
    http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/dgaltest.pdf
    https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=181.957

  15. Jack-Sparrow says: May 23, 2009 11:15 AM

    4Ever Viking says:
    May 23rd, 2009 at 10:11 am
    So if it known that they weren’t taking steroids, then they didn’t violate NFL rules. The spirit of the NFL rule to catch those who use performance enhancing drugs, which these guys weren’t. So, what is the problem? Defintely this case doesn’t qualify for a 4 game suspension???
    It is not “known” that they were not taking steroids. It is only “known” that they tested positive for a substance that is generally used to mask the presence of steroids.

  16. LiveNBreath Football says: May 23, 2009 11:18 AM

    So, some players will be discplined harder than other players based solely on where they play? I am thinking pre-emption is going to come into play here. Otherwise, some players will be able to use steroids without being busted, thereby giving a competitive advantage to certain teams.

  17. jyernberg says: May 23, 2009 11:18 AM

    4everviking-
    IS it known that they were not taking steroids??? i mean, they did test positive for a substance used to mask the presence of steroids…so can we beyond a reasonable doubt decide they are/were not taking steroids?
    personally, i doubt they were, but you never know. and that is the problem. they tested positive for a substance BANNED by the NFL. that should be a pretty clear cut deal. whatever the decision is, i hope it comes soon. all this “yeah, but it says here that i am right” BS really pisses me off. damned lawyers, either they get suspended or they don’t. goodell runs the show, he should be making the decisions. not some judge who is either a viking fan, or a FRIGGIN EX- VIKING! that is just rediculous

  18. DCViking says: May 23, 2009 11:34 AM

    Wait……………………………………..listen……………….. is that Bob_Nelson who’s squealing like a pig now???
    It’s not uncommon for different states to have different laws regarding the workplace. California, for example, has a different system for calculating overtime than most states. Likewise, many states have different laws for what ages people can start working, the types of work they can do, etc. Corporations like the NFL need to account for that, and most do. As Florio stated, they can’t collectively bargain away the protections their normally provided by law.
    Oh, and the East German comparision is just stupid – it’s wrong on so many levels I can’t begin to describe it.
    Yes, I’m a homer and hope the Williamses don’t get suspended. Based on what Florio has said, it seems like they have a reasonable case under Minnesota law. That being said, we’ll have to wait and see.
    On a different note, it was nice to see a Vikings post that didn’t involve Brett Farve.

  19. Joe 6-pack says: May 23, 2009 11:41 AM

    personally, i doubt they were, but you never know. and that is the problem. they tested positive for a substance BANNED by the NFL. that should be a pretty clear cut deal. whatever the decision is, i hope it comes soon. all this “yeah, but it says here that i am right” BS really pisses me off. damned lawyers, either they get suspended or they don’t. goodell runs the show, he should be making the decisions. not some judge who is either a viking fan, or a FRIGGIN EX- VIKING! that is just rediculous
    ******
    Yes, they tested positive for a banned substance they didn’t even know they were consuming. I bet you that if they knew Butemadine was in Starcaps, and that it was a banned substance, they wouldn’t have even bothered with it.
    And please, let’s not trash Alan Page just because he used to play for the Vikes. He’s a god damn Judge. They take oaths to be impartial from either side. It doesn’t automatically mean the Williams are going to win the case. The NFL just has a ridiculous position, that, if anything, will lose them the case.

  20. Jack-Sparrow says: May 23, 2009 11:47 AM

    Are homer judges and juries going to get to decide if Viking players get an advantage over all the other NFL players? I hope not, but the Vikings should have a pretty good season if they get to manipulate the law like that.

  21. DC_Bengals_Fan says: May 23, 2009 12:04 PM

    “Also, the Minnesota Consumable Products Act prohibits employers from taking action against employees who have “engaged in the use or enjoyment of lawful consumable products, if the use or enjoyment takes place off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours.””
    The product in question contained a diuretic (bumetanide) that can only be legally dispensed by prescription Would that make Starcaps no longer a “lawful consumable product”? I’d think it would, but I’m not a lawyer.
    It’s not the league saying they can’t take Starcaps – the league is objecting to the contaminant *in* the Starcaps.
    I still think the Williams have a decent case if it can be proven that the Starcaps product was in fact tainted, but I’m not buying it based on Florio’s reasoning above.

  22. packsux says: May 23, 2009 12:06 PM

    is it really an unfair advantage over all other players in the league to not be suspended for taking a supplement that the league knew contained a dangerous substance that was not listed on the label and had previously approved

  23. zod says: May 23, 2009 12:07 PM

    “How can a CBA be negotiated if the rules are not the same for all teams?”
    Exactly, this is why federal law supercedes state law here and florio’s logic is at best specious.

  24. Mike Florio says: May 23, 2009 12:13 PM

    @zod . . .
    it is well established under federal law that collectively bargained rights do not supersede individual statutory rights that aren’t clearly and unmistakably included within the universe of claims subject to arbitration under the CBA. i have handled multiple cases involving that very issue.
    basically, there are certain individual rights that the employer and union can undermine only if the language of the CBA is clear that the rights are being included within the dispute-resolution procedures that the employer and the union have created.

  25. Jack-Sparrow says: May 23, 2009 12:29 PM

    It is an unfair advantage whenever one player can consume a masking agent that other players are suspended for using. This masking agent showed up in the urine of the Williams boys. How they introduced it to their bodies is not known and cannot be proven by ant test. They say that they got it through Starcaps. That may be true or it may be a convenient way of getting out of a suspension.

  26. alansaysyo says: May 23, 2009 1:23 PM

    Wow, this post has really revealed which commenters actually comprehend what they read…

  27. screamingidiot says: May 23, 2009 1:23 PM

    Viqueen cheaters…Shame on you homers who are defending steroid use!

  28. SpartaChris says: May 23, 2009 1:24 PM

    packsux says:
    May 23rd, 2009 at 12:06 pm
    is it really an unfair advantage over all other players in the league to not be suspended for taking a supplement that the league knew contained a dangerous substance that was not listed on the label and had previously approved

    The league never actually approved Star Caps. Omitting it from the banned substance list is not the same as saying “It’s OK to take.”
    One note from the article people are missing is this: “As further explained by Judge Magnuson, the law prohibits employers from imposing discipline based on a single positive test.”
    They tested positive for the substance only once. Under Minnesota law, once isn’t enough to take disciplinary action. So If these suspensions aren’t upheld under Minnesota law, a guy can juice up all he wants, but only until he tests positive the first time. The league won’t be able to take any action on him unless he tests positive a second time.
    Pretty dangerous can of worms being opened up there.

  29. mnpacker says: May 23, 2009 1:50 PM

    Get your facts straight Florio! There are no “closet packer fans” in MN. Minnesota Packer fans are often show more pride in our team then the Queens.

  30. PURPLE_HAY-SEUSS says: May 23, 2009 2:24 PM

    I love it when people that inhabit Bowling Alley Bars brush off their stained bowling shirts and clear their throats and pick the Hot Wings out of their front teeth and spout off in ‘legalese’.
    “Pandora’s Box’ or “Can of Worms” notwithstanding, if I were one of the Williamses, I wouldn’t be thinking about how my case could affect the future, I’d be working on WINNING so as to clear my name and keep my income. If this case sets precedent, fine. If other NFL players in the future have to abide by some sort of more strict standard, fine.
    Sure, I’m a lifelong Vikings fan, and damn proud of it. Our legal system is hopelessly screwed up, and even Knuckle-Draggers in Wisconsin can appreciate that. The concept of justice is what should be important here. How dare you Cheeseheads start calling the Vikings ‘cheaters’.
    Thanks, Florio, for giving us a little bit of clarity in this screwed-up, Slippery-Slope, totally partisan situation. I never knew you were an attorney. This opens up an entirely new avenue of insults! Thanks!

  31. FightFireWithFire says: May 23, 2009 2:51 PM

    Hmm, the Packer Choirboys are a bit quieter than usual – one or two seem to be absent from the usual roll call on Vikings posts. They must’ve come down with the swine flu or something, with all the meat packing that goes on in GB…
    Props to Florio for doing the legal footwork. Maybe Florio Jr. is waiting in the wings, doing dad’s paralegal work, soon to be the next great PFT writer?
    On topic: it’s time for the NFL to stop applying this policy in a discriminatory manner towards small-market teams (MN, NO, Buffalo). I’m glad to see that the NFL’s case isn’t on legal terra firma. Yes, I’m a Vikings homer – no, I don’t endorse steroid use. Go Vikes.

  32. Elgar says: May 23, 2009 3:20 PM

    The United States Constitution recognizes the rights of individual states to pass and enforce state laws. The federal judge has recognized this fact and sent the two remaing issues to state court for determination. The NFL and the players association cannot sign a piece of paper that says they can violate Minnesota law and then drive 75 on the Minnesota highways with impunity just because you can do that legally in certain parts of Nevada or elsewhere. In order to be a legally binding agreement, the CBA cannot specify that illegal acts are okay under it, and it is illegal in Minnesota for an employer to punish an employee for consuming a legal substance on the employee’s own time. Therefore, a clause in any agreement stating you want to be flogged for legally drinking wine or for taking diet pills on your time cannot be legally enforced if you are an employee in Minnesota.

  33. Mikesmissingbrain says: May 23, 2009 3:21 PM

    MIke. ..Where did you read the 23 page opinion? Can you link to it? Minnesotas Federal Court System has not published it online, that I can find.

  34. Mikesmissingbrain says: May 23, 2009 3:24 PM

    speaking of legal footwork, is there a link to the actual 23 page opinion?

  35. zod says: May 23, 2009 7:41 PM

    florio,
    May I call your attention to Article six of The United States constitution and this phrase in particular:
    This means that the states’ constitutions and laws should not conflict with the laws of the federal constitution and that in case of a conflict, state judges are legally bound to honor the federal laws and constitution over those of any state.
    I understand that you’ve won some labor law cases. Any in federal court?
    What you are suggesting goes against much precedent in labor law. The NFL will most likely argue that very eloquently, if needed, and invoke stare decisis if they have to remove it to federal court again.

  36. NittAndy says: May 23, 2009 7:57 PM

    Good Lord Florio – next time you post something that long could you at least throw a pic of a bikini-clad girl in the middle of it to keep me interested.

  37. Kurmudge says: May 23, 2009 8:17 PM

    I find myself amused at how many commenters here seem to assume that Pat Williams, of all people, used steroids- if you look at the case record, that is the one thing that has never been alleged. The issue, as Florio notes, is purely whether a strict liability point in a private contract can trump state law. It can’t. Relax, Packer fans, such fulminating won’t help.
    One commenter above suggested that the MDAT has exceptions for “Federal law and contracts”. Yup, it does. If the CBA was a federal contract, that exception would indeed apply. It is not- it is a private contract. Exemption of state law applies to Federal law, not private contracts.
    And in the Minnesota trial, no matter what CBA strict liability stuff comes up, the good faith point will also arise. The NFL had pertinent knowledge relevant to employee health and safety that they consciously elected not to share with the other side. I think that the NFL doc who ran the tests, found the bumetanide, and covered it up, should have his license challenged.

  38. BigMo says: May 23, 2009 10:41 PM

    Excellent point Kurmudge! Something tells me though that the cheeseturds on here just won’t get it!
    They understand terms used like “Vicodin” or “Pabst Blue Ribbon”, you know, something they’ve heard before or consume in mass quantities themselves!

  39. TheHappyGoat says: May 24, 2009 12:18 AM

    I find it amazing how many people have no appreciation for the complexity of the law. Someone up above suggested that this is the same as a state law that would require the return of prepaid salary if terminated for cause. That is not true. First of all, football players are independent contractors rather than at-will employees. At-will employees can be fired “for cause” when they violate rules set out by the employer. Contracted employees, however, can only generally be fired “for cause” when they violate some term of their contract. In that case, the consequences of said termination would be laid out in the contract itself (they employee still has recourse, by claiming that their was no cause for termination – see Kelvin Sampson’s departure from Indiana).
    Someone else, much more stupidly, suggested this is the same as letting people play in the NFL in wheelchairs, or outlawing penalties based on claims of discrimination. I think we all know where this kind of idiocy comes from; we can spot it ten miles away. But, for the sake of completeness, let’s please remember that there is a difference – not only legally, but rationally – between being unable to perform certain job-related duties based on physical or emotional disability and being suspended from work (and pay!) based on violation of certain industry-wide standards. The Williams have contracts with an NFL team. They have certain rights because of that contract. Someone in a wheelchair is unlikely to ever have such a contract.
    The same person, I believe, even more stupidly, made an analogy to the East Germans. This case isn’t about steroids or sports. It’s about labor laws. The Williams are employees of a Minnesota-based company, and that company must follow state labor laws. The East Germans were not employed (well, maybe!). The various Olympic committees did not sign contracts with their athletes; there was no contractually-binding promise of any kind of compensation. As such, labor laws do not apply.
    Kurmudge has a good point, though. The medical doctor who failed to publicize the discovery of bumetanide in the product can, and should, be subject to disciplinary action. This doesn’t let the Williams off the hook, but his behavior fell far below the ethical bar set by our medical profession.

  40. TheHappyGoat says: May 24, 2009 12:25 AM

    Zod-
    Almost forgot. Article Six doesn’t mean that the state laws that are the basis of the case shouldn’t apply just because there is no similar restriction in federal law. It simply means that, should the federal gov’t pass a law that specifically contradicts said state law, and that federal law is Constitutional, than the state law would be void. To look at it any other way would make all state laws useless.
    Federal law provides certain protections for employees. State laws sometimes provide more. And they are within their right to do so. They only become invalidated if the protections they offer are specifically outlawed by the federal gov’t. (For example, no state could pass a law legalizing sympathy strikes).
    As far as I know, there is no federal law that explicitly allows employers to discipline employees after a single failed test. As such, if Minnesota, or any other state, wishes to pass a law banning such discipline, said law is perfectly valid.

  41. BigMo says: May 24, 2009 1:17 AM

    Sorry! I meant “Milwaukee’s Finest!”

  42. Waldo says: May 24, 2009 1:43 AM

    So if I am interpreting this right…..
    Mn law makes it illegal to uphold the CBA, thus meaning that they ahve made NFL football illegal in Mn.
    Bye bye Vikes.
    Ziggy is grinning ear to ear over this.

  43. mnpacker says: May 24, 2009 2:10 AM

    I for 1 don’t really care if they get suspended or not. The Packers will still beat them twice and win the NFC North

  44. BritDawg says: May 24, 2009 5:28 AM

    Anyone interested in the NFL/NFLPA CBA drug policy can view it here:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/14066744/NFL-Banned-Substances
    Bumetanide is clearly listed as a banned substance on page 15.
    Page 5 deals with ‘Unknowing Administration of Prohibited Substance’:
    ‘Players are responsible for what is in their bodies, and a positive test result will not be excused because a player was unaware that he was taking a Prohibited Substance. If you have questions or concerns about a particular dietary supplement or other product, you should contact Dr. John Lombardo at (614) 442-0106. As the NFL Advisor on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances, Dr. Lombardo is authorized to respond to players’ questions regarding specific supplements. Having your Club’s medical or training staff approve a supplement will not excuse a positive test result.’
    Page 9 deals with ‘Masking Agents and Supplements’:
    ‘The use of so-called “blocking” or “masking” agents is prohibited by this Policy. These include diuretics or water pills, which have been used in the past by some players to reach an assigned weight.
    In addition, a positive test will not be excused because it results from the use of a dietary supplement, rather than from the direct use of steroids. Players are responsible for what is in their bodies.’
    It seems that Judge Paul Magnuson felt that this joint NFL/NFLPA policy was clear enough – if you as a player are not sure about a supplement then the onus is on you to clear it with the league. Your body is your responsibility and the NFL has every right to impose a ban if you test positive.
    So these players all take a supplement without clearing it with the league and then try to loophole their way out by using state laws. Surely they deserve to be banned for their wanton stupidity in taking supplements that they hadn’t bothered to clear with the league? If you were earning millions of dollars a year, would you put that at risk by popping any pills that were not pre-approved?
    Morally and legally (under federal law) they deserve to be banned. If Minnesota grants them immunity from the NFL/NFLPA rules that other states/teams have to abide by, then their law is an ass. How can you possibly ever draw up a CBA that has to take into account every single state’s individual laws for every single clause of a player’s contract?

  45. tshanno says: May 24, 2009 9:40 AM

    Those arguments aren’t going to hold water. If the players had claimed a false positive test, the argument about testing once might make it. But since they’ve admitted taking the banned substance, they are irrelevant now. The argument may have relevance in the future but not for this particular case.
    As to being able to explain the test, they can try all they want. They still took a supplement not on the approved list and they are, therefore, still responsible.

  46. SpartaChris says: May 24, 2009 11:35 AM

    TheHappyGoat says:
    May 24th, 2009 at 12:18 am
    The same person, I believe, even more stupidly, made an analogy to the East Germans. This case isn’t about steroids or sports. It’s about labor laws. The Williams are employees of a Minnesota-based company, and that company must follow state labor laws. The East Germans were not employed (well, maybe!). The various Olympic committees did not sign contracts with their athletes; there was no contractually-binding promise of any kind of compensation. As such, labor laws do not apply.

    You missed the point that guy was making. Considering we don’t know what kind of agreement Olympic athletes from various countries have with their respective teams or the IOC, let’s set aside any reference to who employs whom. His point was having a judge in Minnesota determine whether these Minnesota players are suspended after testing positive for a masking agent would be like having a judge in East Germany decide whether an East German athlete can compete in the Olympics after testing positive for a masking agent. He was pointing out the obvious conflict of interest.
    In both examples you have a home based court of law overruling any private agreement with respect to the organization they’re participating with. Essentially it isn’t fair to the other athletes who test positive since they might not come from a location that’s as friendly as say Minnesota or East Germany. There’s no consistency.
    That’s the point he was making.

  47. SpartaChris says: May 24, 2009 11:42 AM

    BritDawg says:
    May 24th, 2009 at 5:28 am
    Anyone interested in the NFL/NFLPA CBA drug policy can view it here:
    Page 9 deals with ‘Masking Agents and Supplements’:
    ‘The use of so-called “blocking” or “masking” agents is prohibited by this Policy. These include diuretics or water pills, which have been used in the past by some players to reach an assigned weight.
    In addition, a positive test will not be excused because it results from the use of a dietary supplement, rather than from the direct use of steroids. Players are responsible for what is in their bodies.’

    Reading this tells me the league explicitly forbids the taking of diuretics and water pills. If that’s the case, why is there even an argument?
    Even if it isn’t, this tells me the league has in writing a warning to all players about the use of diuretics and water pills, so I still don’t get why there’s even a case.

  48. ViKing says: May 24, 2009 1:16 PM

    Yeah right, Florio your no Attorney! If so post your credentials or shut the hell up about the Vikings and your less than impartial postings about them. You know as a fact the NFL is in denial in response to their claims, whereas the league itself as an entity is guilty of withholding evidence to the contrary in respect to the personal protection of its playing members by not answering their phone calls and not saying boo about the tainting of Starcaps products. The less than knowledgable individuals that make false claims that Minnesota Supreme Justice’s are biased is totally retarted, but thats Packer fans for you.

  49. SpartaChris says: May 24, 2009 1:57 PM

    ViKing says:
    May 24th, 2009 at 1:16 pm
    Yeah right, Florio your no Attorney! If so post your credentials or shut the hell up about the Vikings and your less than impartial postings about them. You know as a fact the NFL is in denial in response to their claims, whereas the league itself as an entity is guilty of withholding evidence to the contrary in respect to the personal protection of its playing members by not answering their phone calls and not saying boo about the tainting of Starcaps products. The less than knowledgable individuals that make false claims that Minnesota Supreme Justice’s are biased is totally retarted, but thats Packer fans for you.

    Man, you sound like a jilted school girl who couldn’t find a date to the prom. If you’re going to go out of your way to insult others and call them names, at least make sure you spell it correctly. It’s retarded not “retarted.”

  50. lautz73 says: May 24, 2009 3:37 PM

    What Mr. Florio fails to take into account is that the Williams’ agreed to abide by all of the terms of the CBA when they signed their contracts. For a judge to overturn the suspensions would invalidate their contracts. A judge cannot say that a contract is invalid when it is willingly signed by both parties. Therefore the suspensions should be upheld.
    But if the Williams’ want to continue to fight they may be doing more harm to the team than good. If they just take them for the first 4 games the Vikings may only lose 2 games but if it hits later in the season, say starting week 6, then they would most likely lose 3 games.

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