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Supreme Court declines to take up StarCaps case

The United States Supreme Court has weighed in on the ongoing StarCaps saga, and the United States Supreme Court has decided not to weigh in.

According to Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Supreme Court has declined to accept an appeal regarding the decision to allow certain claims to proceed in Minnesota state court.

For those of you who have discovered the NFL only recently, the StarCaps case arose in 2008, after six players tested positive for a banned diuretic that secretly had been added to an over-the-counter weight loss supplement.  The NFL knew about the presence of the banned substance in the supplement, but the NFL did not specifically warn the NFLPA or players specifically about the situation.

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, the existing Minnesota state court action based on technical aspects of Minnesota drug testing laws will continue.  Currently, an appeal is pending regarding a decision that essentially represented full victory for the NFL.  But the four-game suspensions imposed nearly two years ago against Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams continue to be deferred until the appeal is finalized.

Even if the U.S. Supreme Court had agreed to accept the appeal, the matter would not have been resolved prior to the end of the season, meaning that the Williamses still would have been available for the balance of the year.  With Pat Williams, 38, sending out strong indications that he’ll retire after the 2010 season, it won’t matter to him if the suspension ultimately is upheld.

The situation continues to have relevance to Saints defensive end Will Smith.  Though the league received clearance last year to suspend Smith (along with former Saints defensive end Charles Grant) as part of the federal case that preserved the Minnesota claims of the Williamses, the league decided to wait in order to avoid the impression that different standards apply.

And now you can wake up again.

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19 Responses to “Supreme Court declines to take up StarCaps case”
  1. bear0402 says: Nov 9, 2010 10:10 AM

    As well it shouldn’t. The NFL is not a special subset. They should be treated like any other corporation, and be required to follow each individual states employment laws. Considering that bumantide isn’t a federally controlled substance, the NFL had zero hope of this being heard.

  2. Oso says: Nov 9, 2010 10:11 AM

    “The NFL knew about the presence of the banned substance in the supplement, but the NFL did not specifically warn the NFLPA or players specifically about the situation.”
    The onus of responsibility us upon the players. The NFL has the banned substance list and they also have an approved supplement list.
    If players won’t take the time to use approved supplements or get others tested then it becomes their problem, and no amount of “overtrained athlete” or “taking the wife’s hormone pills” will get them out of it.

  3. Calistin says: Nov 9, 2010 10:12 AM

    Sounds like a giant waste of time and money.

  4. rexranius says: Nov 9, 2010 10:13 AM

    Huh? This was on CNN yesterday.

  5. bhill410 says: Nov 9, 2010 10:16 AM

    Mike, this doesnt really make sense to me
    Currently, an appeal is pending regarding a decision that essentially represented full victory for the NFL.
    was there a joint federal suit that the Players assoc. filed in federal that is going to be appealed? I thought that the state courts ruled in favor of the PA?

  6. purpleguy says: Nov 9, 2010 10:47 AM

    The US Supreme Court appeal was primarily onn the issue of whether the CBA pre-empts state law, which the lower federal courts ruled against, and the NFL wanted to fix (the easy way would be to simply state in the CBA that it pre-empts state law, but the NFL attorneys forgot to include that in the CBA). The State court appeals relate to the application of the state law and the district court’s order. As noted by Mike, nothing will be resolved until the season’s over, and heck, maybe not until 2012 if the NFL locks out the players in 2011.

  7. j5skates says: Nov 9, 2010 10:48 AM

    The NFL won at the Federal Court level, the rest of the case was sent to State court, the NFL wanted to block that from happening by arguing that the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement superseded State laws… That is what the NFL wanted the Supreme Court to rule. It did not.
    Instead, the case goes back to State Court where the NFL also won, but that was only at the trial court level and the Williamses still can bring their case to the Appellate and State Supreme Court levels.

  8. acs3 says: Nov 9, 2010 11:22 AM

    Though the league received clearance last year to suspend Smith (along with former Saints defensive end Charles Grant) as part of the federal case that preserved the Minnesota claims of the Williamses, the league decided to wait in order to avoid the impression that different standards apply.
    ———
    But different standards do apply. In Minnesota you’re allowed to take drugs banned by the NFL. Period. That’s the standard.

  9. Beer Cheese Soup says: Nov 9, 2010 11:23 AM

    What a joke.
    I hate the Vikings as much as anyone. I feel they deserve everything that’s happening to them this season. I sit back and laugh at the purple farce that team has become, and I enjoy every minute of it, each time believing that their worthless, big-talking, fairweather, part-time fans have brought this current disaster on themselves.
    I do not, however, believe that the Williams’ did anything wrong at all. They are being attacked because of a violation they didn’t even know they were committing. The league is giving itself a bad name just by continuing to pursue this case.
    The powers that be have already conceded that the players were not taking steroids, and that they were unaware that they were taking masking agents for the steroids they still weren’t taking. That in mind, I fail to see what the issue is.
    The NFL is the one at fault here, and yet, the NFL is the one continuing (and failing) to try and punish these guys. They really need to just let it go already.

  10. Maddog says: Nov 9, 2010 11:55 AM

    What am I missing here? If the details in Florio’s post are true, why would the NFL fight this so hard. Mike makes it sound as if the NFL knows it was an honest mistake. Is that really the case? Or is their position that they think the banned substances came from something other than the StarCaps supplement and that these players, knowing that StarCaps is tainted decided to use that as their alibi? Seems like if the story Florio writes about is true, the NFL wouldn’t be fighting it this hard.

  11. sand0 says: Nov 9, 2010 12:26 PM

    Maddog,
    Florio is not twisting the reality. The NFL knew that Starcaps contained a banned ingredient not listed on the bottle. They knew this because a significant number of players tested positive for it. The NFL let those players off without penalty.
    They did not specifically warn the NFLPA about the situation. It was brushed under the rug. They released a vague memo urging people not to use Starcaps but gave no reason why.
    The MN Judge, after reviewing all evidence and applying his expertise, chastized the NFL for trapping the players in this way. It was very obvious and clear to him that this was a premeditated move by the NFL to show that their drug testing policy was doing something.
    The NFL believes that despite this being a trap and illegal in MN state law that the suspensions should be held because according to their drug testing policy the suspensions should be upheld. Courts have mostly disagreed.
    Meh. The NFL has lost more face on this than they ever could have gained. Huge waste of time and resources.

  12. CanadianVikingFanII says: Nov 9, 2010 2:57 PM

    @ Beer Cheese Soup
    Well said regarding the Williamses.
    Not so much about the other stuff haha.

  13. WaffleStomp says: Nov 9, 2010 4:51 PM

    This is just another reason from a long laundry list why most NFL fans can’t stand the vikings.

  14. Pervy *Harvin* says: Nov 9, 2010 5:25 PM

    Beer Cheese Soup says:I hate the Vikings as much as anyone. I feel they deserve everything that’s happening to them this season. I sit back and laugh at the purple farce that team has become, and I enjoy every minute of it, each time believing that their worthless, big-talking, fairweather, part-time fans have brought this current disaster on themselves.
    ===================================
    You know what stupid old man? I don’t have to insult you,you do a good enough job of making yourself look like an ignorant,know nothing.Tell me genius,when did FANS ever bring on anything bad that happens to their team?Players,coaches,and owners make the NFL go around.We are the spectators.God, lay off the morning booze Otis!
    BTW..All ex Packers(Favre,Longwell,Sharper.etc.) said MN was by far the better orginization…chew on that chud

  15. bruce campbells chainsaw hand says: Nov 9, 2010 6:50 PM

    Pervy *Harvin* –
    Yup, all three of those old Packers said Minnesota was a far better organization. Three people. I guess that’s a majority, huh? Tell me, what other former Packers turned Vikings have said the same thing? And I can’t find the quotes anywhere, can you give me the sources?
    And yes, fans have brought on bad things during NFL games, indirectly hurting their teams, like throwing bottles on the field. But I guess that’s no big deal, right?
    By the way, when you tell someone that you don’t have to insult them, and then do it anyway, you look just as dumb as the guy you’re “not insulting”.

  16. acs3 says: Nov 9, 2010 7:27 PM

    @sando:
    The NFL was under no obligation whatsoever to notify the players that Starcaps was spiked. None. In fact, the NFL was under no obligation to even release that memo that said not to use the product. If the NFL set a precedent for testing supplements, they would be on the hook for everything on the market. Every cheating player would fight his suspension under the argument that the NFL didn’t tell him it was dirty.
    Players are responsible for what is found in their bodies, period. The Williamses have no basis for disputing the facts of this case. They are responsible for ingesting Bumetanide. They took it, they were caught taking it. That’s it. Those are the facts. They’re supposed to be subjected to the suspensions based on just that.
    They may very well have unknowingly ingested the banned substance through a spiked product. But we can’t prove that, can we? We don’t know how Bumetanide got into their systems, regardless of what the players say. We just know it did get into their systems. “I didn’t know it was there,” never worked in the past. And if the NFL allowed ignorance to effectively bypass the rules regarding performance enhancing drugs, we’d see dozens of Lyle Alzados roaming NFL sidelines.
    Seriously, why are they still fighting this? This is a lost season for the Vikings, thanks to Favre and Childress. They ought to drop their case and immediately begin serving their suspensions. Otherwise, Kevin could be serving his suspension next season during games that actually matter. Pat won’t serve his at all, but that’s no excuse to hurt the Vikings’ chances next year with Kevin’s absence.

  17. Pervy *Harvin* says: Nov 9, 2010 7:30 PM

    bruce campbells chainsaw hand…throwing bottles? LOL That has nothing to do with real team issues brainiac….I love how you Puker fans have found this ” deodorant put over stink” arrogance with your tiny success. God,I can’t wait to humiliate you jerks at the big bubble..as well as take the North

  18. Brewdogg says: Nov 9, 2010 8:30 PM

    @ acs3, which I assume stands for arrogant candy-ass…
    So a non-PED that was not listed amongst an OTC diuretic’s ingredients was ingested by two very large men trying to keep their weight at manageable levels, a situation that the testing group was aware of but chose not to inform those who were subject to the test, and it’s the player’s fault?
    So if a company puts out poppyseed muffins in the morning and drug-tests everyone in the afternoon, should they fire everyone who got a false positive because they didn’t know that poppyseeds would do that?
    @ Beer Cheese Soup
    Thank you. I know you hate the Vikes and their fans, and we hate you right back, but you just earned a little respect from me.

  19. JimmySmith says: Nov 9, 2010 9:02 PM

    The Vikings are under the mistaken impression that they got away with StarCaps. Just ask the refs from the Green Bay game if justice is being served.
    I do believe it is.

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