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Goodell asks Congress to close StarCaps loophole

Usually, captains of private industry who are dragged before Congress prefer that the nation’s primary lawmaking body refrain from sticking its nose into the private industry’s business.

This time around, the NFL is applying a much different approach.  The NFL is asking Congress to pass a law that will close a glaring loophole in the league’s substance-abuse policy and testing program, due to drug-testing statutes in states like Minnesota.

In a transcript of the remarks that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will make to a Congressional committee exploring the StarCaps litigation, which has enabled multiple Vikings and Saints players to avoid four-game suspensions after testing positive for a banned substance, Goodell advocates “narrow and specific legislation that would confirm the primacy of federal labor law and respect agreements on this important subject.”

We agree.  As we pointed out several days ago, “By passing a narrow law declaring that the terms of
a collectively-bargained drug-testing program applicable to businesses
operating in interstate commerce preempt any state laws that might
otherwise apply, the loophole would be forever closed.”

Our only regret is that the NFL continues to overplay its hand in this regard, incorrectly blaming the union for supporting a lawsuit that the union was compelled to support.

As the league would have Congress — and anyone else who cares — believe it, the NFLPA betrayed the league by assisting the efforts of the members who faced suspension based on the consumption of StarCaps, an over-the-counter supplement that had been secretly spiked with a banned substance.  But the evidence in this case supports a finding that the league knew that StarCaps had been spiked with a prescription drug, that the league knew players had been taken StarCaps, and that the league issued no specific warning to the players that taking StarCaps could be hazardous to their careers — and more importantly to their health.

As we’ve said many times in the past, the fact that the the internal appeal process tilts so heavily toward the league forced the union to help its members.  Failure to do so could have resulted in a potentially viable lawsuit for breach of the duty of fair representation.

So our preference would be for the league to take a big step back from the legal niceties of the case, acknowledge that the league’s information regarding the truth about StarCaps should have been specifically shared with the union, and realize that the NFLPA’s role in the matter didn’t amount to slapping the league in the face with a white glove.

The union was merely doing its job.

If the league can’t or won’t accept that, then maybe we all really should be making alternative plans for the months of September 2011 through early February of 2012.  Indeed, if the league and the union can’t get on the same page regarding such a basic concept, they’ll never be able to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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18 Responses to “Goodell asks Congress to close StarCaps loophole”
  1. bednarik60 says: Nov 3, 2009 1:22 PM

    Football is important, but I don’t know if it’s so important that it warrants taking time away from important issues…

  2. SgtSigma says: Nov 3, 2009 1:23 PM

    So does this mean Goodell is finally giving up trying to suspend the Williams Wall?

  3. RexRyan'sStressedLapband says: Nov 3, 2009 1:31 PM

    In my opinion, the league should be legally accountable for not forwarding information on Starcaps to the players. The NFL’s “player are responsible for what’s in their bodies” argument is a valid one, granted that all else is equal. However, if the NFL has information that it can’t, or more importantly WON’T pass on to players, then they are purposefully placing their own players’ health, careers, and reputations on the line. I’ve said it since the beginning of this that I don’t understand the league’s thinking for not releasing what they knew about Starcaps from the beginning. If you ask me, it’s like me knowing that there’s a bomb in a building, but not mentioning it to the people who are walking in.
    You are right, Mike, if this is any indication of the level of intelligence in the league office, we are in for a lengthy work stoppage. This is one of many issues that need major overhauling before this agreement will get done. The commish’s power as judge and jury, the banned substances policy, the rookie pay, and a whole slew of complex issues await these guys, and they can’t even get into the same room for more than a few hours.
    Lord, help football, because I love it.

  4. ballhawk1 says: Nov 3, 2009 1:36 PM

    So what happens when they put a team in Canada, Mexico, or London OR play games there? They are going to expect the US Government to get involved with the drug testing actions of these foreign countries and follow OUR laws and regs here when it comes to drugs? Once again Goodell has proven to be a good rule enforcer, BUT has vary little conceptual knowledge of the ramifications of drugs and drug testing if we have games and or teams outside the USA!!! NFL Football should remain in the USA so it can be ran and regulated where our laws and regs can be enforced fully….NOT in a foreign country where certain diet meds and performance enhancers can be gotten nd used easily w/o proper testing procedures….NOT TO MENTION, do we really want government to regulate private business any more than they already do? ALSO Health Insurance and testing falls under states rights not feds or private entity for that matter

  5. texasPHINSfan says: Nov 3, 2009 1:38 PM

    the NFL is often overstepping their bounds on too many issues. While i don’t deny them the right to determine their own drug policy, insisting that Congress step in and do something is mighty vain and self-important.
    this is the same NFL that tried to dictate gambling laws in a state, right?
    the NFL needs to worry less about that and more about how it handles it’s own internal issues.

  6. Felcus says: Nov 3, 2009 1:57 PM

    The league needs to take a deep breath and a step back. How can the NFL not be held accountable in some regard for not sharing what they knew about Starcaps? Also, it isn’t the players fault that this loophole exists. Credit their lawyers for finding and exposing it.
    If the league gets its way and suspends these players this year there will be severe repercussions. Imagine the Vikings and Saints losing two key starters on their defensive lines given where their seasons are currently heading. It would change the landscape of the playoff race, shed a severely negative light on the NFL in those markets and create a greater divide between the league and the players association for a new CBA, all because Goodell can’t admit that his billion dollar empire did something wrong.

  7. Run1out says: Nov 3, 2009 2:02 PM

    OK Mike, if you agree then you maybe you would like to see the abolishment of all state governments and have just the Federal Govt. And one dictator while your at it. Nfl is already given preferential treatment with the anti trust issue and the make a TON of money off it already.

  8. favrecansuckit says: Nov 3, 2009 2:05 PM

    I hope C0ngress tells Goodell to eat their collective asses and quit wasting their time. But in reality, I’m sure they’ll spend months and millions of tax payer dollars looking into it.

  9. Bob Nelson says: Nov 3, 2009 2:11 PM

    Those obese substance abusing cheaters in Minnesota are going to scuttle a new CBA.
    If the Union decertifies it will never come back.

  10. Tomb says: Nov 3, 2009 2:20 PM

    Bob Nelson says:
    November 3, 2009 2:11 PM
    Those obese substance abusing cheaters in Minnesota are going to scuttle a new CBA.
    ___________________
    Bob, what in the hell do your ex-wive’s have to do with this?
    Try to keep your eye on the ball.

  11. Felcus says: Nov 3, 2009 2:28 PM

    @Bob Nelson
    What about the “obese substance abusing cheaters” in New Orleans? You must be a Packer fan. They all took Starcaps to lose water weight (Do you really think any of them needed to bulk up?!). Nobody knew it had a banned substance in it EXCEPT THE NFL. If the players used Starcaps to gain weight as opposed to shed weight, the NFL needs to prove it. Then, and only then, they might have some substance in their argument.

  12. Adam-Chris Scheftersen says: Nov 3, 2009 2:38 PM

    ballhawk1 says:
    November 3, 2009 1:36 PM
    So what happens when they put a team in Canada, Mexico, or London OR play games there? They are going to expect the US Government to get involved with the drug testing actions of these foreign countries and follow OUR laws and regs here when it comes to drugs?
    —————————–
    How appropriate that you compared the state of Minnesota to a foreign country.
    They do have their own dialect… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF3z-j8o39I

  13. CornFlorio says: Nov 3, 2009 2:55 PM

    Tomb says:
    November 3, 2009 2:20 PM
    Bob Nelson says:
    November 3, 2009 2:11 PM
    Those obese substance abusing cheaters in Minnesota are going to scuttle a new CBA.
    ___________________
    Bob, what in the hell do your ex-wive’s have to do with this?
    Try to keep your eye on the ball.
    _________
    Post of the MONTH!!! LMAO!!!!!!
    I think that you are right about Bob (The Knob) Nelson. FudgePacker for sure. Packer fans as well. LOL

  14. Manbearpig says: Nov 3, 2009 3:39 PM

    Florio what does this mean for the Williamses? If Goodell gets this accomplished can they still be suspended or would they be grandfathered in? Inquiring minds want to know.

  15. Vikes-N-Favre says: Nov 3, 2009 4:23 PM

    Roger Goodell is a useless POS. There is no way in hell a “FAIR” court system is going to suspend players for taking a “DIET” pill to maintain weight that is “ILLEGALLY” spiked with a “PRESCRIPTION” only ingredient and was conveniently left off the active ingredients list so people wouldn’t know that they were ingesting a potentially harmful product.
    Roger Goodell and his half witted NFL cronies knew that Starcaps contained a NFL only banned substance but failed to tell anyone about it. If a judge says anything other then get the hell out of my courtroom with that bullshit to Roger Goodell and the NFL, he is wasting his breath. If anything, Roger Goodell and his retarded sidekicks should be fined and suspended for knowing this product contained this ingredient and failed to tell anyone. All he did there was sit by, wait for players to take it, then tried suspending and fining them so he could look like some big shot by the rules guy when all he really is, is a piece of crap.
    Like Pat Williams is on steroids. The dude has a gut bigger then the state I live in. If that is the impression that people get of steroids, then I believe most everyone would never touch the crap. They were maintaining their weight, nothing more, nothing less.

  16. Adam-Chris Scheftersen says: Nov 3, 2009 4:58 PM

    Vikes-N-Favre says:
    November 3, 2009 4:23 PM
    Roger Goodell is a useless POS. There is no way in hell a “FAIR” court system is going to suspend players for taking a “DIET” pill to maintain weight that is “ILLEGALLY” spiked with a “PRESCRIPTION” only ingredient and was conveniently left off the active ingredients list so people wouldn’t know that they were ingesting a potentially harmful product.
    Roger Goodell and his half witted NFL cronies knew that Starcaps contained a NFL only banned substance but failed to tell anyone about it. If a judge says anything other then get the hell out of my courtroom with that bullshit to Roger Goodell and the NFL, he is wasting his breath. If anything, Roger Goodell and his retarded sidekicks should be fined and suspended for knowing this product contained this ingredient and failed to tell anyone. All he did there was sit by, wait for players to take it, then tried suspending and fining them so he could look like some big shot by the rules guy when all he really is, is a piece of crap.
    Like Pat Williams is on steroids. The dude has a gut bigger then the state I live in. If that is the impression that people get of steroids, then I believe most everyone would never touch the crap. They were maintaining their weight, nothing more, nothing less.
    —————————
    Translation:
    Blah, blah, blah my Vikings shouldn’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else blah, blah, blah.

  17. PurpleIsForGays says: Nov 3, 2009 5:55 PM

    @Vikes-and-Shitbag;
    The policies are in place to remove the effort of gaining a competitive advantage over your competition. It’s not the fact that those lard asses took a diet pill, it’s the substances that are in the diet pill, and the alternative uses that they have that cause the issue.
    Bumetinide is an active ingredient in StarCaps, however it is also a masking agent for steroids. It’s not the implication that they are taking steroids, but in order to remove any “gray” area in the rules, they make it illegal entirely.
    The fact of the matter is that they broke the rules of the NFL drug policy, and because of some BS statute in MN, they haven’t been forced to play by the same rules. They should rightfully be suspended just like everyone else.

  18. Wellsee says: Nov 3, 2009 6:19 PM

    “Usually, captains of private industry who are dragged before Congress prefer that the nation’s primary lawmaking body refrain from sticking its nose into the private industry’s business.”
    Actually, enterprises operating in many states often ask Congress to relieve them of dealing with what they call “a patchwork of regulations”.

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