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.