Judge Paul Magnuson decided on Friday to temporarily prevent the NFL from suspending five NFL players who took a supplement that, unbeknownst to them, had been spiked with a banned substance.
Per the Associated Press, Judge Magnuson decided after several hours of oral argument in two pending lawsuits challenging the suspensions that he needs more time to assess the matter.
As a result, Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams and Saints running back Deuce McAllister and Will Smith will be available on Sunday.  Saints defensive end Charles Grant previously was placed on injured reserve, ending his season.  Thus, the suspension would not have affected his ability to play.
Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson took the same supplement, known as StarCaps.  However, the internal appeal of his suspension has been deferred as the NFL gathers more evidence.
The decision doesn’t mean that the four players will automatically be permitted to finish the season with their respective clubs.  Judge Magnuson could decide next week that the players have failed to meet the standard for blocking the league from implementing the suspensions pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
And that’s precisely what this phase of the case is about.  The players want the court to tell the NFL that the suspensions can’t be implemented until the litigation concludes.
It’s one thing to secure a short-term stay of the suspensions; it’s quite another to persuade a judge to tie the NFL’s hands until the case is over.
Typically in matters of this nature, the plaintiffs must prove that they will suffer “irreparable harm” if the defendant isn’t blocked from doing whatever it is that the defendant plans to do.  The defendant in such cases usually responds by arguing that, since the plaintiffs can later recover a monetary award to compensate them for their lost wages and other damages, their available remedies are adequate and “equitable relief” (e.g., telling a party that it can’t do something that it wants to do) isn’t appropriate.
In other words, the NFL will argue in this case that, because the players can later recover cash money from the league if it turns out that the suspensions violated their legal rights, there’s no need to stop the league from suspending them.
In this type of case, however, where NFL players have only so many seasons during which they can play NFL football and where that lost 25 percent of one season will never return, the argument in favor of a finding of irreparable harm might be stronger than most cases involving actions to be taken against employees.
The real battleground in this case could be the requirement that, in order to obtain an injunction pending the outcome of the litigation, the players must prove that they have a strong likelihood of eventually winning the case.  The NFL surely is arguing strenuously that the legal theories advanced by the players are not valid, because the only potential legal claim that can be made in this case is that the NFL violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement and/or the steroids policy (which while not part of the CBA was also the product of collective bargaining).
Even if, the NFL likely has argued, one or more of the league’s employees knew that StarCaps had been spiked with Bumetanide, failing to specifically warn the players is not a violation of the CBA or the steroids policy.
The players obviously disagree; to obtain an injunction while the litigation progresses, however, the players need to be able to demonstrate that, when the dust settles, their position likely will prevail.
It might be hard for the players to do, and it might result in the restraining order being lifted before Thursday night, when the Saints play the Bears.

55 responses to “WILLIAMS WALL WON'T FALL

  1. good for the players, bad for their teams.
    You KNOW the CBA states no appeal of the arbitration process, so this just delays their suspensions (buh bye playoffs…).

  2. I totally disagree with this. How do you prove that they took Starcaps and not something? Does it matter what the NFL knew or didn’t know, really? Players should be told (and have been told), if its not specifically on the “approved list”, then you are taking it at your own risk!
    These players may have a gripe, but its not with the NFL. I hope these guys all miss playoff games now.

  3. If a guy is on IR, does he have to wait for the suspension to kick in OR does he start the suspension even though he isn’t playing?

  4. Florio, I’m disappointed in you. foxsports.com had this story up before you. They’re catching up.
    foxsports.com – 1
    pft.com – 999,999,999

  5. There goes my chance to start Kevin Smith. Yeah, my fantasy team’s that desperate for a runningback.

  6. There seemed to be conflicting statements regarding whether or not the suspensions, if imposed, would carry over into the playoffs. Some places said they would, some places said that they wouldn’t. Anyone know the real answer on this?

  7. This commish will be gone soon.
    Call it what you want but the players won round one.
    Look for players filing lawsuits over excessive fines, questionable suspensions and contract disputes.
    This ain’t over.

  8. 1: One of the NFL’s stated goals is to protect the health and well being of the players.
    2: The NFL knew since 2006 that Starcaps contained Bumantide, an illegal, banned and potentially harmfull substance that could damage the health and well being of any player taking it.
    3: None of the players taking Starcaps knew it contained Bumantide. None of them were taking steroids. All of them were high character and model citizens. Strangely, the only ones on the suspension list were from small market teams (Coincidence?) even though Starcaps was a widely used weight loss suppliment.
    4: The NFL chose not to notify the players that Starcaps contained a substance that could damage thier health and/or get them suspended without pay. Thus, the NFL committed fraud against the players and the NFLPA because acting contrary to the health of the players, which is against the NFL’s stated goals.
    5: The NFL hotline that players could call to ask about Starcaps did not indicate that it was an unacceptable weight loss suppliment or that it contained Bumantide.
    6: The NFL then selectively tried to ban some players for taking Starcaps, while not banning others, and without giving cause.
    Personally, I think the NFL acted in an extremely shady fashion here and I hope the NFLPA and the players sue the NFL’s pants off for this.

  9. dang it…..I have Kevin Smith on my bench and was looking forward to the Williamses being on the bench so I could start Smith in place of a gimpy Marion Barber vs Pittsburgh Defense….gonna be a tough weekend for my team…

  10. A very important thing that was not yet mentioned here, is that Pat & Kevin Williams were awarded a 2nd restraining order against the NFL. They are also seeking a cash award for having their reputations harmed.
    This is not looking good for the NFL. The Judge was aggressively asking the lawyers for the NFL why they waited this long to suspend, and why their substance hotline told at least 1 player that StarCaps was 100% legal.

  11. Can someone explain to me why the Matt Jones suspension is taking so long, yet these were so swift?

  12. If the Williamses end up sitting out through week 1 of the playoffs and the Vikes get run over by the Panthers it would be hillarious.
    It would really be Stupid 1 – Sanity 0.

  13. When it’s all said and done, they will make a deal with the n.f.l and propably get a 1game or 2game
    suspension. These lawyers are smart and love these kind of cases because A) they get paid, B) score
    some points with other players, C) Get some free tickets to future games, playoffs etc. not that they
    have these bennies already, they just get more . But we have a game to win so let’s just win, and move on.

  14. “In this type of case, however, where NFL players have only so many seasons during which they can play NFL football and where that lost 25 percent of one season will never return, the argument in favor of a finding of irreparable harm might be stronger than most cases involving actions to be taken against employees.”
    If the Pat and Kevin Williams, and the entire Vikings team, their fans, ect, misses the playoffs and a chance at a Super Bowl, and the fame and fortune that comes with that accomplishment, all because the NFL lied and withheld information to the players about Starcaps, doesn’t that consitute “irreparable harm”???

  15. mcrowell,
    I actually agree with you, but you are taking far too black and white of a view of this. If the NFL in fact did know about a substance that was ILLEGALLY in a certain supplement, and they failed to not only notify the FDA, but also the very people who are taking that supplement, then it clouds the issue.
    Personally, as a Vikings fan, I would rather see them take the four game suspension and be back for the playoffs. I think the CBA policy definately failed the players, but that is something that can and should be taken up with the NFLPA in the offseason. Obviously there was no intent, and the NFL also failed the players to some extent (and jeopardized their health). But the CBA is what it is.
    My guess is that the clubs think that they can get an injunction that will allow them to finish the season.
    BTW< LMAO at the person who said “Cheating Viqueens”. Do you really think they were cheating? Really? Wow. They tested positive during a preplanned mandatory drug test on July 26th. Pretty sure they didn’t intentionally take anything that was on the banned list…

  16. Pay now or pay later. These rule breakers who claim they were to lazy to to get into shape properly were using the steroid masking agent to lose water weight.
    After the death of Korey Stringer you would think the vikings would take reduced water weight content seriously as a health endangering issue. The vikings as usual have done nothing to discipline their team.
    Athletic competitions caanot be fair if athletes are using masking agents. These turds cannot be permitted to win in court or the whole substance abuse policy is thrown out the window.
    Why weren’t the team or the players agents more involved in their fiduciary duties??
    That may be the next lawsuit out of this mess.
    Their ought to be some penalty to the team.
    You can’t just let illegalities continue without additional punishments for the delay and expense of the NFL appearing in court.

  17. Znorseman
    THere’s just a flaw in thy reasoning: The NFL has a list of all the approved supplements, etc. that players can use, and Starcaps is obviously not on the list. Hence, they took it at their own risk; i.e. they are responsible for what is in their body.
    That the NFL may have known that this supplement had something in it, they just can’t go and preach it to everyone because Starcaps could come back and sue for libel. Win or lose, the NFL is not one to get into lawsuits just for fun.
    The players consumed this stuff, despite it NOT being on the list. IF it were on the list and it comes out that the stuff is spiked, that’s a completely different kettle of fish.
    Now, if the NFL is handing out suspensions selectively, that is a no-no that would be a major issue if substantiated.

  18. So I guess now if a player is facing suspension and his appeal gets denied, he can just sue in court to get the suspension lifted? Since they can blame someone else now, does this mean that players no longer have to be accountable for their own actions?

  19. borisivan….according to Cris Mortensen ESPN….the suspensions WOULD carry over into the playoffs.

  20. At least you should know how to react to this Packer fans.
    Losing is becoming second nature to you.

  21. PackOne says:
    December 5th, 2008 at 3:44 pm
    Total BS. Favre sucks.
    and WHAT relevance is this to this topic? Get over it. He left the Hillbilly Midwest for the bright lights of THEE big CITY

  22. Incredibly suprising that the support or criticism runs along the lines of each posters team preference. Given Florio’s recent plagarism kick, this article looks a little like my post yesterday on MN injunction standards, except without the jab at the cheesers.

  23. For me I guess it is the disparity in the punishments handed down. Pacman Jones can get into so much legal trouble I don’t think I could list it all on one page. And he does it repeatedly despite previous punishments. Matt Jones can get busted red handed with Cocaine and not get suspended (Yet). But Six players that take a supposedly all natural weight loss pill that (Illegally)contained a prescription medication that was not listed in the ingredients. Then they get 4 game suspensions. No questions, No flexibility. Whatever happened to a punishment that fits the crime. I understand that players are responsible for what goes into their body. I wouldn’t mind that they get some for of punishment. Like Probation, Or a one or two game suspension. But giving them a full 4 game suspension for an accident. Plus these players are highly regarded for their work ethic and have no other off the field issues. I Am speaking of Pat and Kevin Williams, I’m not sure of the other players who were suspended. Anyway’s that’s my rant.

  24. The NFL can prove that they ingested Bumetanide, but how can the players prove that it was only from Star Caps?

  25. Kevin Williams beating the hell out of his girlfriend/wife…what a MODEL citizen…another znorseman post where everything he stated is basically wrong ,inaccurate or misleading

  26. ZN0rseman says:
    December 5th, 2008 at 3:51 pm
    3: None of the players taking Starcaps knew it contained Bumantide. None of them were taking steroids. All of them were high character and model citizens.
    You have some proof of this? The fact is that it’s used as a masking agent. Since it’s been proven that they had this masking agent in their systems, it’s possible to tell whether or not they were taking steroids. BTW, Mark Chmura was a high character guy until he hopped into a hot tub with a high school girl.

  27. The ViQueens should be suspended for letting this happen.
    Korey Stringer.
    Not StarCaps!
    Wife Beating!
    Brett Favre!
    Player no longer have to worry about suspensions!

  28. You guys should direct your anger towards the Judge. The ViQueens didn’t overturn the NFL, a judge did.
    My impression from Brad Childress’ body language is that he wishes they would just take their lumps and move on. Brad didn’t say this, but what is not said is sometimes louder than what is said.

  29. I have no idea what to think of this. Players need to be responsible for what goes in their bodies, but when the NFL knows their is a banned substance in a product that can be life threatening they need to do something about it. I thought Dictator Gooddell was going to be good for the NFL, but is taking the game the wrong way. The disparity in what is fined and how it is fined is just crazy. Just look at what got fined for the Bears-Vikings game:
    Allen doing CPR on the Ball…$10,000
    Tillman’s horse collar (done in the heat of the game)..$7,500
    Ogunleye’s late hit on Ferrotte (with his flop)…$0

  30. Looks like the high paid babies cried and sued and won. Maybe the NFL should hire people to spoon feed these babies year round so they don’t “accidentally” cheat.
    Thank god I am not a Vike fan and have to defend this garbage.

  31. hey hender
    Any comments on how Jolly, who was caught for felony drug trafficking is still playing?
    I didn’t think so.
    Mckinnie still hasn’t gone to court (just like Jolly), but Goodell saw fit to suspend him.

  32. Kevin did not beat the hell out of his wife….. Not girlfriend. According to the police report he was upset that she was not wearing her ring. And they got into a very heated argument. She hit him between the eyes with her cell phone, He shoved her onto/over the bed. That was it. Ive never heard any other problem other than that one time. I dont believe he is a wife beater.

  33. You know….I am just glad the Williams boys will be allowed to play this weekedn. I know their presence wont guarentee a vicotry, but I know I feel better knowing they will be allowed to play.
    There is so much information out there, on this topic. Some of it is accurate, some of it isn’t.
    I am inclined to believe what the players say…”the NFL’s hotline was not manned when players attempted to call in…the NFL’s own ppl. knew Starcaps contained a masking agent, and did not publish this information….the product label was not accurate (did not have all the ingrediants listed. That being said I am less likely to believe the suits at the NFL office who have been telling us that the purpose of the NFL’s steroid policy is to protect players. If that is true, why did they lead players to believe that this product was safe to take?

  34. AlexanderIsland,
    If the NFL knew that StarCaps illegal contained a drug that was controlled by the FDA, and failed to report it – then they are guilty of breaking federal law.
    Had they reported it to the FDA, it would have been pulled, and none of this would have happened.
    The league, like it or not, shares in some of the responsibility for this mess.

  35. Bob_Nelson
    Out of curiosity, why do you label Kevin and Pat Williams as turds? And why do you not refer to any of the other three players that are part of the lawsuit?
    My guess is because you cheer for the Packers or Bears… Glass house, throwing stones, stop me if you’ve heard this before…

  36. I think Florio missed this a little bit as a legal matter. The one point in favor of the NFL in this case is the one they totally relied on- that is, the substance abuse policy was a contract-bargained term, and the courts won’t interfere in a voluntary contractual relationship (except, perhaps, in equity to order specific performance if one side refuses to perform).
    Here, the judge asked the NFLPA about the contract point immediately, Kessler replied basically that the contract was unconscionable as applied, and that was all there was to his consideration of that issue- the one on which the NFL was totally resting its case. Then- contra one commenter above, the judge also cut off the NFL attorney when he tried to talk about masking agents by saying, bluntly, “This case isn’t about steroids, and you know it.” Ouch- you don’t want to hear that stuff from the bench during a hearing.
    I’m betting that the judge will not find time to look at this further till about February. After the Super Bowl- because the balance of equities really all rests with the players on this one once you have pierced the contract.
    I’ve always thought that the NFL was pretty savvy about things, until this year. Then, Brady got hurt and they decided make it illegal to tackle quarterbacks because too many were getting injured, and after that, they sat on this case covering a bunch of players, had multiple opportunities to make a more reasoned response, and after 5 months brought down the hammer. That is just plain dumb.

  37. 1) The NFL knew about Starcaps 2 years ago and did not add them to their list of banned substances.
    2) Nobody was suspended last year or the year before for using bumetide (or whatever it is called). Yet, I guarantee you many players were taking the Starcap supplement. I bet the Williamses were using it then.
    3) Players tested positive before training camp, but weren’t suspended until the last 4 games as if the NFL wanted to avoid this thing dragging through the whole season.
    4) The 5 players appealing this suspension are spread across only two teams while the use of Starcaps is most likely wider than those specific 5 players on those two teams. Why did they show up and not others? There was a rumor that many other Saints players admitted to using the caps but passed the test. Were the traces extremely small?
    5) The NFL f’ing knew about Starcaps!!! They said nothing. I guarantee when they first learned of this banned substance their instinct was to send out a memo and add it to the banned list. I guarantee there was a discussion, perhaps a brief one, in which they decided not to let everyone know. What was the reasoning used during that discussion? What is the benefit of not telling anyone that they were after?
    This whole situation is extremely shady and bogus. The NFL has mismanaged this situation to a nearly comical level. What a flipin mess. I understand the rules and they state any content is worthy of suspension. But there are exceptions to every rule, I don’t care how clear they are. And the NFL knowing about the drug and not saying something should be an exception. Why on earth wouldn’t they add it to the banned substance list? The suspensions should be lifted and someone needs to get fired.

  38. Bottom line:
    The Current Collective Bargaining Agreement states that NO DECISION MADE ON APPEAL BY AN ARBITRATOR WILL BE OVERTURNED.
    So by OVERTURNING the decision made ON APPEAL by an ARBITRATOR,
    The Minnesota Court is essentially throwing out the CBA.
    Can’t wait for the fallout.

  39. Anyone that brings up Korey Stringer to defend their posting on this subject is a complete tool.

  40. I am the world’s biggest Vikes rube, and frankly, I think we can beat most teams without the Williams Boys.
    Right now, I only think 2 teams are terrible match-ups vs. the Vikes.
    Giants and Cowboys.
    Any other team? LET’S PLAY!

  41. >>jrhsd says:
    December 5th, 2008 at 5:11 pm
    hey hender
    Any comments on how Jolly, who was caught for felony drug trafficking is still playing?
    I didn’t think so.
    Mckinnie still hasn’t gone to court (just like Jolly), but Goodell saw fit to suspend him.<<
    My god, will you stop bitching about this already? This is the most absurd comparison I’ve seen come out of the holes of Vikings fans this season, and the fact that some of you clowns keep bringing this up just makes you look dumber and dumber. In no way are these two cases similar. In fact, one HUGE discrepancy is your boy McKinnie was CAUGHT IN THE ACT. Jolly on the other hand was not caught doing anything other than being in the drivers seat of a car that contained a felony amount of codeine. There is no proof that the drugs were his, only proof that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    So, to spell it out for you- Your guy committed the crime. It is a known fact and beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the crime, hence the league suspending him now.
    My guy did something, but what that something is has yet to be determined. It could be that he was truly in the wrong place at the wrong time and had no idea the drugs were in there, or it could be that the drugs were his and he felt his NFL Paycheck wasn’t big enough to support his happy meal habit so he was slinging on the side. We won’t know the facts until after his trial, which is why the league had to defer punishment to him.
    At a minimum, I agree that Jolly is certainly guilty through his association. For that he deserves some level of punishment and suspension. However, because his level of involvement is not yet known, the league cannot suspend him yet. The league doesn’t know if the codeine was his or someone else’s. If it turns out it’s his, he’ll be serving an 8 game or 1 year suspension, pending whatever legal responsibilities he’ll have. If it’s not, he’ll probably get 4 games at the very least.
    Hope that clears it up for you and the rest of your brood who seem to think the world is stacked against you just because you wear purple.

  42. Quote: “Florio, I’m disappointed in you. foxsports.com had this story up before you. They’re catching up.
    foxsports.com – 1
    pft.com – 999,999,999 ”
    Man I e-mailed Florio like minutes after the verdict my wife saw it live on Twin Cities Live broadcast shot Florio an e-mail? He would of had this bad boy before even Fox if he had read the dang gum e-mail! Florio I got your back bro! packerblitz admin!

  43. SpartaChris I agree with you until found guilty your innocent! Double scoop twins where BUSTED! Sooo different! Stop reachin viking fans your fat boys where busted and proven by test. PackerJoe has spoken! Sack Owned!

  44. Ntrikit says: vikes are the luckiest team in the NFL right now! ON and off the field their are a dozen or more teams that would smoke or expose them. The Packers beat down the same team they are riding high on the Bears last Sunday was an inconsistent illusion get over it reality will kick in once a team over .500 plays them without the refs in their pocket and GF staging a bad hit on the QB!~ LOL

  45. chalk up another win for the purple piehole eaters!
    till next week anyway!
    the detroit perfect season dream lives on!

  46. Being in a car with illegal drugs is a crime. No matter how you want to look at it, you are not allowed to be in a car with illegal drugs.
    “Your guy” is just as innocent/guilty as “our guy”.
    Who said it is “a known fact” and “beyond a reasonable doubt”? You? Are you a judge?
    Nice try, though.

  47. Jolly has been charged
    After an investigation
    The police do not believe he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time”
    Jolly’s non-suspension is as big of a joke as Matt Jones’, and Pac Man still being in the league.

  48. >>
    Author: Ntrikit
    Being in a car with illegal drugs is a crime. No matter how you want to look at it, you are not allowed to be in a car with illegal drugs.
    “Your guy” is just as innocent/guilty as “our guy”.
    Who said it is “a known fact” and “beyond a reasonable doubt”? You? Are you a judge?
    Nice try, though.<<
    Dude, there were eye-witnesses! Do you not get that there were people at the club, including the arresting officers, who SAW Bryant McKinnie beating that guy?!?!?! How much more proof do you need? So no, at the moment anyway, my guy isn’t just as guilty as your guy. Truth be told, we don’t know how guilty he is in this case. For all we know, my guy was caught being in the wrong place at the wrong time and had no knowledge of the illicit substances in his car. We do know, however, that your guy was caught beating that guy outside of the club and we do know that your guy was caught resisting arrest. Those are facts.
    I agree that being in a car with illegal drugs should warrant a suspension, but the part that maybe you don’t realize is that the league can’t suspend Johnny Jolly twice for the same crime. If they went ahead and issued a 4 game suspension now when it turned out the drugs were his with intent to distribute to begin with, they couldn’t issue another suspension.
    I know you’re going to believe what you want to believe, but there’s really no conspiracy here. As much as you want to believe it, they aren’t picking on the Vikings.
    So yeah, nice try right back at ya.

  49. >>jrhsd says:
    December 5th, 2008 at 9:36 pm
    Jolly has been charged
    After an investigation
    The police do not believe he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time”
    Jolly’s non-suspension is as big of a joke as Matt Jones’, and Pac Man still being in the league.<<
    Of course he was charged. He was the driver in a car full of codeine, which implies that it was his. It’s like how in my state, if someone has an open container or fails to wear their seat belt and I’m the driver, I get the ticket. That still doesn’t prove the codeine was his, or what his level of involvement with that codeine is.
    Look, I’m not advocating that he should walk free from suspension. My record on that has been pretty clear. But it seems that some of you Vikings fans who seem to think the league is out to get you and only you really need the circumstances to be spelled out.

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