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NFL finagles expedited hearing in appeal of StarCaps rulings

Buried in the most recent item from Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (not to be confused with the Minneapolis Star Tribune . . . only a complete idiot would do something like that) is one of the most important developments in the case involving the efforts of Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams to block four-game suspensions arising from the league’s policy regarding anabolic steroids and related substances.

Per Murphy, the United State Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has scheduled oral arguments regarding the review of the May 22 decision preserving the Williamses’ state-law claims for August 18, which is part of a schedule aimed at producing a ruling before Week One of the 2009 season.

So if the federal appeals court finds that the federal district court erroneously concluded that the claims arising under Minnesota statutory law supersede the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and its union, Kevin and Pat Williams will miss the first four games of the coming campaign.

Today, the judge presiding over the remaining state-court claims will determine whether to stay the case pending the outcome of the federal appeal.  Given that the federal case is on track to be resolved (barring an unlikely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court) by early September, we suspect that the league’s motion for a stay will be granted.

Bottom line?  The league has scored a coup in this regard, persuading the appeals court to alter its normal schedule for the convenience of the parties.  And as a result we’ll all known before the ball kicks off on the Sunday after Labor Day whether the Vikings will have two of the best run stuffers in the game.

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19 Responses to “NFL finagles expedited hearing in appeal of StarCaps rulings”
  1. zod says: Jul 22, 2009 9:22 AM

    Let the whining begin.

  2. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Jul 22, 2009 10:21 AM

    Thank goodness. It’s about time these losers get the punishment they deserve under the CBA and stop trying to skirt the system with their hollow arguments. They should sue their agents for not giving them the information that was sent out regarding the endorsement or use of any products from the manufacturer. Other than that, the CBA that they agreed to makes it pretty clear that you’re responsible, no excuses.
    You would think of all the fat men using diuretics to lose weight, the Vikings players would be the last to use them after Korey Stringer died. Of course if one of them did die, their estate and wives would sue the NFL for not protecting them.

  3. bears4ever says: Jul 22, 2009 10:24 AM

    suspend them
    they are just lazy and cant drop the weight with out taking a pill

  4. zeakman says: Jul 22, 2009 10:41 AM

    As a Vikes fan, I hope they do get suspended right now. First four game: Cleveland, Detroit, SF, GB. . . oooh, scary. If it happens later in the year when we play good teams, it could get nasty.

  5. LiPo says: Jul 22, 2009 10:58 AM

    They probably did not use the star caps as a diuretic to lose weight.
    They probably used it as a masking agent for steroids.

  6. DCViking says: Jul 22, 2009 11:12 AM

    At the end of the day, they probably should be suspended.
    I do, however, find it disingenuous that all the people who say they should just take the suspension would do the same thing if they were in that position. I believe most people in their (the Williams’) position would fight if they believed they could win, or that by they believed they were unfairly charged — that threshold varies by person.
    How many people who are accused of a crime they actually committed go into a court-room and say “I’m guilty, give me the maximum penalty you can for the offense I committed”? I’m guessing not very many — except the many Packer fans who are holier than thou.

  7. Fidelito says: Jul 22, 2009 11:23 AM

    Re:Unnecessarily long username guy. Diuretics lower blood pressure, not raise it. It seems pretty likely that Stringer was using ephedra products when he died, he was tested for diuretics and wasn’t on them. Anyway, when you’re suspended in the NFL, can you still practice? Or is it a baseball type suspension where you’re gone all together?

  8. Permission Denied says: Jul 22, 2009 11:27 AM

    The NFL provides an enormous, comprehensive list of APPROVED dietary and medicinal supplements, which it stands by unflinchingly.
    It is made abundantly clear to anyone who’s not a drooling troglodyte–STRAY FROM THIS LIST AT YOUR OWN RISK.
    THAT is as far as the NFL goes in its liability. Everything else–the hotlines, etc. etc.–is just a courtesy.
    Approved list. Stick to it.
    Oh, you didn’t?
    Then quit being b1tches and face the consequences like men.
    End of discussion.

  9. tarken10 says: Jul 22, 2009 11:41 AM

    Florio,
    I have to disagree with you concerning one aspect of your column. I think this case has got US Supreme Court written all over it, as it asks a fundamental question of whether or not Federal jurisdiction supercedes state statutes, and that, to me, sounds like something that will eventually need to be determined by someone higher than a state or lower level federal court.
    It still seems to me that common sense should dictate that civil rights are not something that can or should be collectively bargained away. The NFL, if they prevail, would be setting a precedent that I cannot believe would stand up
    in the Supreme Court.

  10. mike says: Jul 22, 2009 12:13 PM

    Shouldn’t federal jurisdiction override state laws?
    I would hate to have my state that says it’s legal for my pilot to fail a drug test and still be able to fly until he fails twice.

  11. brainiacIX says: Jul 22, 2009 12:26 PM

    As a Vikings fan, this is the best news since this thing happened. If they get suspended or not, we’ll know before the season starts. If they don’t, we have them the whole year, barring injury. If they do, the first four games are against the Browns, Lions, 49ers, and Packers, who were 26th, 30th, 27th, and 17th in rush offense last year. Our defense would suffer without them, but we’ll be fine against these teams.

  12. zod says: Jul 22, 2009 12:26 PM

    This issue is not in the criminal or civil rights realm. It is in the realm of unions, labor law and CBAs and all the legal precedents that pertain thereto. What many fail to grasp is that CBAs supercede many other civil laws on the books such as much of antitrust statutes. What is occurring now is in the mainstream of federal labor law.
    We are here because of some creative lawyering in the shallow end of the pool and some wack-job state judges protecting their electability.

  13. tarken10 says: Jul 22, 2009 2:07 PM

    Zod,
    If you’re right, and I have no reason to believe you’re not, I’m gobsmacked that this is allowed to prevail in our country. Civil liberties should never be used as a bartering chip, no matter what. Neither Unions, nor employers should have the right to say what one may take in their home, particularly when that substance is perfectly legal to the rest of the country’s residents. Further, alcohol, a perfectly legal substance, can get you fired, but only if ingested during working hours, or the effects of its use affect your job performance, (being late to work, not quite sober, etc). Why should the NFL be allowed to dictate to its employees, what legal substances they may or may not take in the privacy of their own home. Lawyer speak aside, common sense should say they shouldn’t be allowed to.

  14. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Jul 22, 2009 2:31 PM

    # zeakman says: July 22, 2009 10:41 AM
    As a Vikes fan, I hope they do get suspended right now. First four game: Cleveland, Detroit, SF, GB. . . oooh, scary. If it happens later in the year when we play good teams, it could get nasty.
    —————-
    Yeah, I hear ya. Like the one team you almost lost to not once but twice if it weren’t for a missed field goal and a botched intentional grounding call……or a Lions team that you beat once by a completely bogus pass interference call at the end and another with a very questionable incomplete call at the Vikings 8yd line when Johnson clearly caught it.
    Considering that the DT’s are the core of the defense, this would be a huge loss and make it very easy for even the worst of teams to move the ball on the Vikings. Secondary is terrible and the linebackers are average at best. There’s nobody opposite Jared Allen to keep him from being double teamed.

  15. SpartaChris says: Jul 22, 2009 3:06 PM

    tarken10 says:
    July 22, 2009 2:07 PM
    Zod,
    If you’re right, and I have no reason to believe you’re not, I’m gobsmacked that this is allowed to prevail in our country. Civil liberties should never be used as a bartering chip, no matter what. Neither Unions, nor employers should have the right to say what one may take in their home, particularly when that substance is perfectly legal to the rest of the country’s residents. Further, alcohol, a perfectly legal substance, can get you fired, but only if ingested during working hours, or the effects of its use affect your job performance, (being late to work, not quite sober, etc). Why should the NFL be allowed to dictate to its employees, what legal substances they may or may not take in the privacy of their own home. Lawyer speak aside, common sense should say they shouldn’t be allowed to.
    ==================================
    I’d agree with you if the league was prohibiting the use of something like aspirin or preventing players from enjoying a beer.
    They aren’t.
    What they are doing is prohibiting the ability of a player to take a substance, whether legal or otherwise, that can be used to mask the use of illegal steroids or narcotics. No fan of the NFL should have a problem with it. I certainly don’t because it demonstrates to me in the best way possible that the athletic competition we see on the field isn’t tainted, and that genuine athletic ability is used to determine the outcome. If that means players cannot take otherwise legal substances that can be used to mask steroids, I’m alright with it.
    Besides, if the players don’t like rules, they’re free to choose another line of work. No one’s holding a gun to their head.

  16. DCViking says: Jul 22, 2009 3:07 PM

    whatthehellisgoingonoutthere is right — i’m concerned about the Lion and Packer games without the Williamses.
    Especially, given how we tended to play down to the level of our opponents in division games last year (except for the Bears).

  17. Elgar says: Jul 22, 2009 4:46 PM

    State laws are empowered by the Bill of Rights of the U. S. Constitution. If you don’t want your state to be able to decide whether gay marriage is legal or how murder should be punished or what emission standards are in your state, you disagree with the founders of this country. If you think a sports league can take away the right of states to pass any laws which they have to obey, the Tenth Amendment consists of one sentence of 28 words. Read it. The taxpayers aren’t spending all that money on state legislatures for nothing, and any state government is going to get rather angry with any sports league that is too lazy to comply with the law. Buckle up. It’s the law.

  18. VonClausewitz says: Jul 22, 2009 4:56 PM

    I understand Vikes fans desire to see this get resolved asafp but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. I think this is going the distance to the Supreme Court. The issue of whether states law can supersede the national policy of a business has some wide ranging implications, particularly since the answer of “yes it can” seems to be the obvious conclusion. If the courts decide to give the NFL an exemption from this you can expect other businesses to try to follow. And in a country with a federalist in charge who wants to put more things under the federal umbrella the chance of something like this happening don’t seem so far fetched.

  19. zod says: Jul 22, 2009 9:13 PM

    The tenth amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
    ..
    Quoth Elgar the fool:
    If you think a sports league can take away the right of states to pass any laws which they have to obey, the Tenth Amendment consists of one sentence of 28 words. Read it.

    Elgar conveniently ignores Article Six paragaph two of the US Constitution:
    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwith-standing.
    ….
    Since there are US laws and much legal precent concerning labor law and specifically CBAs, the tenth amendment is null and void in this instance. And wack job state judges be damned. Do they even teach the constitution in law school anymore?

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