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League will appeal StarCaps ruling

The Saints players who took StarCaps might still be suspended this year, after all.

And the Vikings players.

According to Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the NFL has filed paperwork requesting a “rehearing” of a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that upheld all aspects of a May 2009 decision from a federal trial judge in Minnesota.

The decision allowed to proceed a lawsuit filed by Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams in Minnesota state court.  Though the decision also allowed the league to suspend Saints defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith (and former Saints running back Deuce McAllister), the league has opted not to proceed with those suspensions for now, due in large part to the perception that the Vikings and Saints players would end up being treated differently for engaging in the same behavior.

If the rehearing before all 11 judges of the Court of Appeals is granted, and if the ruling is reversed, all of the players would be subject to four-game suspensions for violating the league’s policy regarding steroids and related substances.  (The prior ruling of the Court of Appeals was issued by a three-judge panel assigned randomly to the case.)

The players in question each took StarCaps, an over-the-counter weight-loss supplement that secretly had been spiked with Bumetanide by the manufacturer.  They tested positive 2008, but internal appeals and litigation have resulted in the suspensions being delayed through most of 2009. 

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23 Responses to “League will appeal StarCaps ruling”
  1. jx4cmario1 says: Sep 23, 2009 5:28 PM

    What I’d like to know is how you actually got the drool to show up on my computer screen when writing this story.

  2. Nevisyakker says: Sep 23, 2009 5:38 PM

    WAAAAAAH!!! We’re the NFL and we never lose!
    You have got to think the federal court will say “enough already,” “we have made our ruling and there isn’t any substantive reason to revisit it.” Nothing has changed, no new earth shaking evidence has been uncovered, the only issue is that the mighty NFL cannot accept the idea that it doesn’t get its’ way at all times no matter what.
    Lord knows the rest of us have heard all we need to about this sorry business.

  3. thecrazytomato says: Sep 23, 2009 5:39 PM

    When will they just drop it? I mean seriously. Its times like this I hope the players maike out in the agreement.

  4. Osborne says: Sep 23, 2009 5:40 PM

    As someone who does a lot of appellate work I think something should be pointed out.
    The odds of an Appellate Court granting review en banc, let alone reversing, are very remote.
    Probably about 1 in 20 at best just to grant a new hearing.
    This is especially true when the 3-member panel had no problem with the lengthy opinion on the district court below.
    The Williams’ and the two Saints players will very very very likely be free to play all season.

  5. PJW says: Sep 23, 2009 5:41 PM

    The League must not taken note of their own appeals process.
    Same judges…….same outcome

  6. Kodiakal Karnage says: Sep 23, 2009 5:46 PM

    Maybe I’m splitting hairs here, but “secretly spiking” something sounds much more sinister and insidious than simply just not having all the ingredients labelled…
    Do you ever NOT tip your hand, Florio?

  7. SoCalSean says: Sep 23, 2009 5:50 PM

    Too bad the NFL holds no power over state laws.. The NFL needs to just let it rest.

  8. Tundrastruck says: Sep 23, 2009 5:57 PM

    Rules are rules. Sit ‘em all down for four games. I am tired of this sense of entitlement that these guys have that rules don’t apply to them because of some damned loophole. Lawyers are the scurge of the Earth and all letting them play does is perpetuate their sense of entitlement. Playing in the NFL is a privelage, not a right. Employment rights should not apply since the collective bargaining agreement tends to supercede just about every other employment law, I don’t see how this should be any different.

  9. Furious George says: Sep 23, 2009 6:19 PM

    darnit… well keep us informed. i sure dont want to miss a chance to call the team, organization, players and fans a bunch of cheaters. i’ll be right here!!

  10. thecrazytomato says: Sep 23, 2009 6:27 PM

    @tundra. So basically your saying you want the NFL to be above the law? Ya know the NFL is only a company. Law > Any Company.

  11. PJW says: Sep 23, 2009 6:30 PM

    =====Kodiakal Karnage says:
    September 23, 2009 5:46 PM
    Maybe I’m splitting hairs here, but “secretly spiking” something sounds much more sinister and insidious than simply just not having all the ingredients labelled…=====
    It is more sinister when you need a prescription for the “spiked” ingredient.

  12. Tomb says: Sep 23, 2009 6:32 PM

    The NFL does not supercede state law.
    Goodell needs a reality check. The NFL is not a sovereign nation state.

  13. mnmaverick says: Sep 23, 2009 6:45 PM

    They should handle it all in private. Sports fans don’t want to hear about legal issues. We tune into sports to watch sports, not Court TV.

  14. cliffcla says: Sep 23, 2009 7:23 PM

    Does the league know how petty it appears… The whole truth is they dont want to lose bargaining power going into a new CBA…. Instead of doing what is right.. They are Sabre Rattling…….

  15. JuicyMelon says: Sep 23, 2009 7:24 PM

    # Furious George says: September 23, 2009 6:19 PM
    darnit… well keep us informed. i sure dont want to miss a chance to call the team, organization, players and fans a bunch of cheaters. i’ll be right here!!
    _________________________________
    Lol. Cheating? StarCaps is not a steroid. One ingredient is banned. Was it labeled? That remains in question. Did the NFL approve or deny this? That remains in question. To call the team, organization, players, and fans a bunch of cheaters is unbelievably stupid.
    The NFL needs to just give this up, fix their program, and move on. How about having everyone involved to agree to be suspended for one game if the slate is clear after that? The problem is the four game suspension for something that is very questionable. Did they test positive for steroids at all during their career? If not, why are they trying to punish overall good players. This a black shadow on the NFL and Goodell and company need this to end right away.

  16. BoudreauxnThibideaux says: Sep 23, 2009 8:08 PM

    Osborne, thanks for putting this into perspective. Our esteemed writer is engaging in a bit of baiting…
    In my opinion, the league should just table any suspension of these 5 players until next year. This way, the scandal is less newsworthy and nothing would apply until the uncapped year which would possibly hurt anyone not under contract more. Sorry Deuce. Let ‘em play and lets move on.

  17. Furious George says: Sep 23, 2009 8:17 PM

    JuicyMelon says: September 23, 2009 7:24 PM
    # Furious George says: September 23, 2009 6:19 PM
    darnit… well keep us informed. i sure dont want to miss a chance to call the team, organization, players and fans a bunch of cheaters. i’ll be right here!!
    _________________________________
    Lol. Cheating? StarCaps is not a steroid. One ingredient is banned. Was it labeled? That remains in question. Did the NFL approve or deny this? That remains in question. To call the team, organization, players, and fans a bunch of cheaters is unbelievably stupid.
    ——————————————-
    yes it sure is,i was being facetious… but that seems to be the culture of nfl fans the past few years.

  18. Bob Nelson says: Sep 23, 2009 8:38 PM

    Even if this appeal is not granted the NFL still has the state court action which will happen next year. So the fat obese lazy lying cheaters that violated their contracts and well as the NFL rules will still face punishment.
    It may be 30 months late but these rulebreakers will pay.
    With testing now going to done outside the NFL the players union has already lost because of these two buffoons.
    The Union should never have supported this suit. Instead of a slap on the wrist to druggies like Ontarrio Smith now players will be facing serious jail time under the new testing program.

  19. ihateflorio says: Sep 23, 2009 8:53 PM

    i have the perception florio engages in some questionable behavior

  20. Tundrastruck says: Sep 23, 2009 9:15 PM

    Not saying the NFL is above the law I am saying that NFL franchises operate under the governance of the NFL (hence NFL franchises) and the NFL…you know, the governing body, has the right to uphold certain standards of safety, to which the players are to be held. They opted to take suppliments that contained the banned substance. It’s not a matter of whether the player’s rights were violated because they waive the rights to ingest “anything they want” when they sign their names to those fat contracts that obligate them to follow the rules of the governing body, not the specific franchise for which they work. End of story. The sad part is the rules are in place to protect the safety of NFL players. Ignorant, rich, spoiled brats…just like the owners.

  21. Kevin_B says: Sep 23, 2009 9:31 PM

    The league is really being very douchey on this one. I am a Saints fan, so it may sound biased, but to me this sentence says everything:
    “The players in question each took StarCaps, an over-the-counter weight-loss supplement that secretly had been spiked with Bumetanide by the manufacturer. ”
    It is over-the-counter stuff that was proven to have been spiked with a banned substance. How is that the players’ fault? It wasn’t even a steroid. None of these players should have ever been suspended. The league should stop trying to tar and feather innocent players and turn their legal action towards the manufacturers that have caused potential physical harm and financial harm to members of their league.

  22. MSSaintfan says: Sep 23, 2009 10:38 PM

    What many here are forgetting, or never knew, is that Saints player Deuce McAlister DID send a sample of Starcaps to the NFL and the league office APPROVED it saying that it DID NOT violate NFL rules. Then shortly thereafter, the NFL found the change to have been made to Starcaps, and did not tell the players of the change. That is why I think they should fight. The players in question were NOT at fault. If your employer tells you it is OK to do something, they should not then fine you and suspend for doing so. The fault here is with the NFL, not the players.

  23. purpleguy says: Sep 24, 2009 10:19 AM

    The timing of the full panel hearing process will not jeopardize the player’s playing time this season. My understanding is that the NFL asked for an extension until October 9 to file an appeal, meaning they have not even determined if they will appeal yet. Once the appeal is filed, the full appellate panel will set up a briefing and hearing schedule which likely will take the bulk of the season, and then will take a few weeks to issue an opinion after that process — probably after the season is over. Besides, the NFL has already lost on the issue twice, and asking the full panel to reverse a decision of their peers is not likely to be successful.
    The NFL just has to get it through their arrogant heads and accept the fact that they’re going to lose on this issue. State law applies unless specifically excluded in the collective bargaining agreement. The high priced NFL attorneys didn’t include this language — if you want to blame attorneys, blame the NFL lawyers.

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