Minnesota law made the difference for the Williams Wall

Since many of you have found PFT only in the wake of our partnership with NBC, you wouldn’t have been hanging out here in May 2009 when the StarCaps case first came to a head.

As a result, we’re getting a lot of questions regarding the disparate outcome of today’s ruling, with two key members of the Vikings defensive line, Pat and Kevin Williams, avoiding four-game suspensions and two key members of the Saints defensive line, Will Smith and Charles Grant, facing two-game four-game suspensions.

The difference is simple, but it likely won’t make Saints fans feel any better.

The Minnesota Legislature has passed two drug-testing laws that operate separate and apart from the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and its players union.  These statutes provide extra protections, and the CBA did not take the Minnesota laws into account.

Louisiana law contains no such additional protections.

At the end of the process, both of the Minnesota laws might be interpreted as not applying to the present situation.  But that won’t happen in the near future, given that the Hennepin County Ciruit Judge to whom the case has been assigned has indicated that a trial will not be held during during the 2009 season.

So Pat and Kevin Williams, barring an extremely unforeseen development, will be available for the full year.

Meanwhile, it’s now incumbent on the NFL to insert language into the drug policies to close this loophole in the future.  The NFLPA undoubtedly will want a concession in exchange for any such tweaks to the testing procedures.

65 responses to “Minnesota law made the difference for the Williams Wall

  1. Starcaps was criminally negligent in ADDING a substance that wasn’t listed, but this supplement was NOT on the NFL’s “OK” list.
    These players knowingly took supplements that had NOT been cleared by the NFL -end of story, they should ALL be held accountable for straying from the “OK” list.

  2. Since I haven’t been following this that closely, but its really interesting at this point, can someone post like a timeline or something that just sort of walks through this event?

  3. Who cares? The Vikings aren’t making the playoffs anyways. Don’t you remember Brett Favre is their QB? He WILL ruin this team, just give it time.

  4. To all you whiners out there, the MN law is clear- you can’t be suspended from work for taking a legal substance off the work site AND you can’t be suspended from work for your first substance violation. Both of these apply to the Williams Wall.
    Too bad Fudge Packers!!!! See you Oct5th with the Williams Wall standing!!!!!

  5. Wait, the Saint players will now only face 2 game suspensions? (This was stated at the end of the 2nd paragraph when I read it.)

  6. jz0717 says:
    September 11, 2009 12:02 PM
    I’m sure Packers and Bears fan will still whine about it.
    Well, yes. Until Johnny Jolly proves that he can’t be prosecuted for codeine possession in the state of Texas.

  7. So the Law is the Law – but the NFL should NOT impose suspension on players just because they do NOT live in a Purple State. (any state that votes in Al Frankin is purple from holding its breath) The Saints players decision should be postponed until the Vikes situation is finalized. Goodell needs to us COMMON SENSE here and make sure the punishment(if any) is equal.

  8. Minn is a strange place with some strange voting practices. Their present senator is a former very bad comedian, plus their former governor was a steorid abusing pro wrestler. Hey, maybe that is the reason for the more restrictive drug testing laws in the state.

  9. This whole thing is one big joke. How on earth can you sign a CBA and have state laws and homer judges overrule that? They might have found their loophole for this season, but you can damn well be sure that the NFL will not be giving the Vikings the benefit of the doubt on any cases which the commissioner has to dole out subjective punishment.
    Somewhere Percy Harvin just smiled and probably just sparked up a joint….. Essentially he or any other Viking player can do drugs, take steroids or any other banned substance and they’re protected by state laws. Somehow I don’t think this is going to end well…..
    At the end of the day though, the NFL doesn’t need to really worry about this long term when the Vikings are in LA in 2012.

  10. That’s because this state has f’d up laws and is quickly turning into the California of the Mid-West.

  11. Here are the two sets of fans that have bitched and complained about this ruling.
    1. Saints fans: Justifiably so.. All of the players linked to this should have been cleared because the NFL knew that a illegal substance was illegally put into this particular product and was held off the ingredients list and didn’t tell anyone about it. Its like the NFL was sitting back and waiting for players to take this product so they could fine and suspend the players which would have resulted in money going to the NFL.. So for that, here is a big F#CK YOU to Roger Goodell..
    2. GB fans: Because now they know they have absolutely no shot against us.. We are the team to beat in this division, and having two Pro Bowl defensive players out of the equation for a period of time would have given GB a better chance.. Does anyone think its a coincidence that the NFL schedule makers had us playing GB in week 4 of the season which would have been the final week of the Williams Wall’s suspension had the NFL won their case? They were trying to hand GB a win on a silver platter and it backfired on them.. Now GB will get pulverized to no end.. Don’t forget Jared Allen in all of this, he owns the GB offensive line..
    SKOL VIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. jz0717 says:
    September 11, 2009 12:02 PM
    I’m sure Packers and Bears fan will still whine about it.
    “I suppose those Packers and Bears fans will while about the fact that our players don’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Whatever.”

  13. Big surprise, a Minnesota judge doesn’t want to hold a trial of two Vikings players during the season. Is there any basis for this? Besides just wanting to help the team?

  14. As a Packer fan, I really don’t care about the ruling, leave it to Viking fans to insinuate such a thing. I hope both teams are healthy and at full strength to prove who the best team is without excuses. The problem/beef I have is that the Saints player will be suspended.

  15. Doesn’t this situation put the Saints at a competitive disadvantage in what might well be a battle for a playoff spot with the Vikings? The NFL should – in this particular situation – not suspend Grant/Smith because of the Williams Wall ruling.

  16. 1. jz0717 says: September 11, 2009 12:02 PM
    I’m sure Packers and Bears fan will still whine about it.
    Whine that some Viking fan judge is allowing his boys to play?
    You honestly believe that the Vikings should be allowed to play the Williams?
    It’s BS that the Vikings will be allowed to play these two, while the Saints are going to lose their two DE’s for the same thing

  17. Florio says: ‘two key members of the Saints defensive line, Will Smith and Charles Grant, facing two-game suspensions.’
    Is this a typo or did the NFL lower the suspension because they know it’s not fair?

  18. You’re still failing to address 2 key points Florio:
    1. Is the NFLPA really going to sit back and let 50% of the Saints defensive line miss 25% of the season each while others go unpunished?
    2. Why was the NFL “staying” the Saints sentence until after the Minneapolis court ruling? If the Saints players’ fate had nothing to do with this court case as you claim above, than why weren’t Grant and Smith slated to serve their suspension regardless?
    Something doesn’t add up.
    Here’s Peter King on his twitter – saying that the NFLPA will put up a fight on the Saints’ behalf:

  19. the vikings have never had anything go their way in the history of their existence….so here’s to you, vikings fans, you finally won something!

  20. Its a big if, a very big IF due to the ‘coach’ Childress calling plays.
    But, if the Vikings were to win the Super Bowl and Pat Williams decided to retire with a ring would the NFL fine him four game checks out of his pension plan or something? It wouldn’t suprise me.

  21. The NFL is coming off as though they want more than anything for players to be suspended. It is one thing to try to hold up what you think is right, but it is another to appeal multiple times and release all kinds of statements with the intention on getting guys suspended.
    Seriously, the NFL should put up a reasonably little fight but how are they really out that much by letting them go? It isn’t like the players even took steroids. It was a little misunderstanding about hidden ingredients. And heck, the NFL could have avoided the whole mess by letting the PA know about StarCaps back in 2006 when they discovered it.
    Seriously, everything the NFL has done in this whole case from withholding the Starcaps information all the way to filing supreme court appeals makes them really look like the bad guys in this whole thing. Let a player play.

  22. To all you whiners out there, the MN law is clear- you can’t be suspended from work for taking a legal substance off the work site AND you can’t be suspended from work for your first substance violation.
    I’m sure all the Drunk Doctors practicing in Minnesota are glad to hear this… but but but Judge, your honor, I was drinking at home before I showed up to do surgery.

  23. Vikes-N-Douche,
    Have you looked at the record of the Vikings against the Packers the last 6 games? No shot? Last I checked, they were 5-1, including an EMBARASSING thrashing that was what, 34-0??? The worse regular season loss ever, excluding the 41-0 spanking in the playoffs.
    Your one win was with the help of the ref’s and a missed field goal. Period, end of discussion. Not sure how anyone would be feeling like there’s no chance….especially now that the Vikings have Favre in the fold.

  24. # jz0717 says: September 11, 2009 12:02 PM
    I’m sure Packers and Bears fan will still whine about it.
    What for? If any team wants to beat the Williams Wall, just throw the ball against that awful secondary.
    Seriously though, Vikings fans, the joy of keeping the WW will be seriously undermined as the Brett Favre story plays out in a stadium near you.
    Good Luck with that, because if he beats GB in GB, he’s as likely as not to retire the next day. Mission accomplished.

  25. As I’ve said on another thread:
    God I love reading the whiny Packer fans posts about how unfair this is.
    Conspiracy theories even….lol
    All we hear all year is how we’d lose them for 4 games, trainwreck etc.
    What an awesome friday, we get to keep the wall , and Packer fans got thier painties in knots.

  26. Wow, there are some awfully stupid comments on this story. What’s so difficult to believe here? That states have different laws? That, as a company employed in different states, your agreement with your employees cannot supersede these state laws?
    It doesn’t matter whether or not StarCaps was banned and it doesn’t matter what you believe is “fair”. State law cannot be imposed on. It wouldn’t be “fair” to ban the players when state law prevents it (actually it would be illegal). Blame the NFL for allowing this to happen, because they wrote the contract, not the Vikings, nor the judge. Blame them for banning the Saints players while being unable to ban Vikings players.
    But don’t sit and say it isn’t “fair” or that it’s “wrong” when you don’t understand the basic idea behind state law protecting employees.

  27. It isn’t over.
    The suspensions may be postponed bu they certainly are not thrown out.
    The trial may be next year but the cheating viking players have only put off their accounting for their substance abuse.
    Perhaps 5 years from now the U.S Supreme Court will render a decision alien to the issues involved and the fat slobs will serve their suspensions then.

  28. For all the homers who are saying this was a judge that liked the Vikings (Judge Larson), clean the Sh!t out of your ears and listen up- This was appealed to the federal circuit and heard by a panel of 3 judges that ALL agreed with him.

  29. Minnesota law says that if you fail one drug test, you cannot be disciplined on the job (unless you are an airplane pilot or something).
    That should be the law in every state.
    As a Vikings fan, I’m happy with the ruling, but I wish every single team in the NFL had the advantage of this law.

  30. Nice, now I hope the Vikings turn this around on a player. Since in Minnesota the collective bargaining agreement does not apply, they don’t need to pay out bonuses or benefits that were collectively bargained. The Vikes will save enough to build a new stadium on their own!

  31. Thank you Tabemaju for being the only one with a clear head.
    Just because you sign an agreement, it doesn’t change the law. People are not able to make there own laws. Laws come from the legislature.
    Also, the ruling and law that it follows applies to legal substances. This does not allow Percy Havin to smoke pot you boobs.
    Try reading you will find you can learn a lot.

  32. BoB I hate everything Vikings related Nelson.
    A state judge said it wasn’t right for the NFL to suspend them.
    A federal judge has said the same thing.
    What makes you think the Supreme court is going to see this any differently?
    I know why? You are a Packer fan, and therefore, mentally challenged.
    Sorry Corky, you are getting the Vikings at full strength on 10/5/09.

  33. BTW, the better term is “Williams Wrecking Crew.”
    They don’t just stand there. They run all over the field, making plays, disrupting offenses. Pat Williams and Kevin Williams raze offensive game plans and hopes. That is why they are The Williams Wrecking Crew.

  34. So if I understand this correctly…. Vikings players can use masking agents without fear of punishment provided the drug is legal.

  35. This IS over.
    I grew up in MN and the state has very progressive laws that go to great lengths to protect the citizen (be it a renter, an employee etc…). All of the rulings in this have been completely in line with MN law. The judge is there to interpret the law, not create law.
    Yes, I’m a Vikes fan, but the league tried to override MN law, it’s that simple. I think the league should simply admit that it’s original agreement was NOT sound, that none of the players involved will be suspended, and that they will immediately correct this issue. But my sense is that they can’t admit to being wrong. They made a lot of BOLD statements during this case and now have egg on their face.
    PR-wise they would have been much better to lay low and admit some fault, issue a fine, and close the loopholes.
    Now, the league is stuck and stammering and they don’t like it.

  36. Tabemaju is correct. The NFL & The NFLPA screwed up here. There is nothing wrong or unfair aobut taking advantage of a state law(even in a state that elects wrestlers & comedians). Anyone of us here would do the same thing. The only way they can save face in this situation is to left the suspension of the Saints players.
    For God’s sakes there’s a CBA coming up. Quit wasting money trying to prove a worthless point in the justice system.
    Hell, with all the whining Favre’s been doing lately I think the Vike’s fans are going to realize he is not their Saviour–more like the Antichrist by season’s end.
    Gonna be an interesting season in the NFC North–that’s for sure. And thank God it all starts (minus the one game last night, I know, I know) this Sunday.

  37. This is so funny reading the comments from various Packers/Bears fans. We got Favre, but if that’s what you think makes the Vikings the team to beat, then you are sadly mistaking. I am not guaranteeing a Super Bowl berth, but just one season ago the Vikings won the Division. They won the division with Gus/T-Jax. I would take Favre over Gus any day! The Bears added Cutler and their defense got worse. The Pack switched Def. Schemes and didn’t do anything in the off season. So please tell me where Packers/Bears fans get off at bashing the Vikings right now? The Vikings clearly have a better team then last year. Adding Favre. Harvin, and getting back Heath should make our team a bit better than last year.
    The funny thing about this story about the WW is that they shouldn’t have been suspended anyways. This is the NFL’s problem not the WW. Make the system work NFL! People can get mad or throw tantrums about this ruling, but no one deserved to be kicked out. (Also, I like the experts on these comments who know exactly how the process to check on various supplements good/bad works).

  38. I love how Packers pipe up in all these Vikings threads.
    Seriously. Everything lately has gone the Vikings’ way. You have nothing to be hot stuff over right now. At all. Your team sucked last season while the Vikings were good. Your former hero favorite player of all time wanted out of your team and into ours. He did everything in his power to get here while your team did everything in its power to prevent it and now here he is. The Vikings are getting massive coverage nationally. The Vikings are favored by Vegas to win the division. We have the best player in the NFL. The Williams wall is standing tall all season.
    The Packers are an afterthought. They had a good preseason, prompting some “analysts” to pick them to do well but until they actually have something good that matters happen you have nothing to brag about. Nothing at all.

  39. If you look at the law from the perspective of Joe Public, whom it is designed to protect, it makes sense. The NFL either overlooked it when writing the CBA, or the law came later, but it doesn’t matter. The law overrides any provisions in a labor contract that are contrary to it. The only option the NFL has is modify the CBA to conform to the law, because there is no way they will get the law changed in MN, where democrats are part of the DFL party – thats Democrat-Farmer-Labor. And no labor union in MN would ever stand for a reduction in the legal protections available to union members. End of political career for any politician proposing that. Any way you look at it, this is a win for the NFLPA. Yes, I’m a Vikings fan, but the law is the law, stop whining. Also take a look at Pat Williams, and his Starcaps story makes a lot of sense.

  40. Well that is actually great news because now we won’t have to hear any excuses as to why the Vikings choked again. Just get use to whats coming you purple pud whackers, another monumental collapse and you looking up at the Bears and Packers in the standings come December. Book it.

  41. Good for Minnesota. Now when Green Bay whips them twice I won’t hear any excuses. Well, except from a certain QB who likes to make preemptive excuses.

  42. actually this is really good news for the Vikings…. now every single player can start shooting up Steroids, which has always been legal with a prescription from your team’s doctor, now that the NFL CBA doesn’t hold true in Minnesota anymore…
    seriously, they can, and with the help of a Judge who roots for the Vikings, your trial date will be years down the road long after you retire from the game.

  43. No excuses for the Viking fans. I wanted the Vikings at full strength. I wanted them to have Favre. I want them to think they are invincible. I want them to prance around all-proud of their one-and-done wild card postseason last year. I cannot wait to tell them all to STFU when the Packers get done kicking their asses……twice! If I am wrong..I will cease posting on Vikings blurbs. If I am right…I expect them to do the same.

  44. Sando says the Packers have nothing to brag about, nothing at all. Whereas the Vikes have – what? – to brag about? That they have won all those world championships? That their “great fans” always make sure their games are sold out? That they have a soon-to-be 40 year old QB leading them into battle? That their defensive stalwarts got away with taking illegal drugs? An impressive list, to be sure. Of course anyone who has ever spent any time in Mini (or read posts here by Mini fans) knows that Pat and Kevin aren’t the only folks over there who are putting stuff into their bodies that isn’t good for them.

  45. I hope this gets under Goodell’s skin and causes a nasty infection.
    His God-complex has gotten out of control, and he is now reminded that laws actually trump the NFL’s (read Goodell’s) narcissistic and totalitarian whims.
    I bet this all stems from Goodell having a small wiener, and everybody must suffer as a result.

  46. keep up the crying and the boasting fellas.
    This is so freaking funny.
    Ambrose, you shouldn’t be posting on Vikings threads in the 1st place. you are a Packer fan.
    Also, why is it that you are concentrating solely on the Vikings games? The Packers play 14 other games. I would care more about overall record than head to head.
    Kick our ass twice huh?
    You lost 1 to us last year, and won the other 1 by 5 because TJax was doing his Karen Rodgers impersonation and couldn’t lead a 2 minute drive.
    That game was in doubt until under a minute to play.
    Shouldn’t you packer fans be worrying about the Bears? That is after all the team you are playing this week.
    But, I guess based on the preseason, the Packers are going to dominate.
    Typical lame-ass packer vitrol.
    To borrow from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
    ” I’m getting the fear, man”
    Please though. by all means, keep posting your anger and hate, my fellow vikings fans and I are enjoying your angst.

  47. I simply feel sorry for the Saints. All of the anger here should be directed towards Goodell.
    Vikings fans, as one of them don’t get all shit talking. It makes us all look bad. Leave it to other teams to talk trash…

  48. For you “The league knew and didn’t tell anyone” kool-aid drinkers, please explain to me how a memo to the agents of the players surfaced expressly forbidding the players from taking Star Caps?
    I won’t pretend to know what the chain of communication from league office to player is, but I suspect it goes through the agent, hence the memo.
    And I love how Vikings dweebs thing everyone opposed to the ruling is automatically a Packer or Bear fan. I assure you, many of the comments on this thread aren’t from anyone interested in either the Packers or the Bears. There are also people who realize it’s crap when one team in the league doesn’t have to play by the same, collectively bargained rules as everyone else because of some random state law. A state law which ought to be amended to exclude pro sports teams I might add.
    In any case, no worries. At least there will be no excuses should the Vikings and Packers square off completely healthy on both sides of the ball.

  49. This is funny as hell.. GB fans bitching about something going in the favor of the Vikings when in fact they should rename their team the Green Bay Black Rhinos because they are Protected..
    They complain because a judge decides that the Williams took something that had a illegal substance (by NFL standards anyways) put into unknowingly by anyone taking it when their fat ass DL Johnny Jolly is a street drug dealer and their sad ass LB Barnett beats women which is a felony in America.. Barnett gets a 1 game suspension for beating on a woman, appeals it, and serves not one single game.. So how is that justifiable and this is not? Whine some more idiots..
    If anyone should be pissed over this its the Saints fans and their team.. No player on that list should have been suspended for this seeing as though they never knew it was illegal to begin with.. I hope that the players union fights for those guys and gets their suspensions lifted as well.. GB fans crack me up, they think their team does no wrong and everyone else is at fault.. You are all just jealous because now your weak ass 6-10 team now has to face our team at full strength.. Good luck, you are going to need it.. Oh and before you bring up games from 2 years ago, we are obviously a different team for the better, and you are obviously a different team for the worse..

  50. SpartaChris says:
    September 11, 2009 6:47 PM
    ….There are also people who realize it’s crap when one team in the league doesn’t have to play by the same, collectively bargained rules as everyone else because of some random state law. A state law which ought to be amended to exclude pro sports teams I might add.
    One of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Yes, lets start amending state laws to the whim of any organization (NFL or other) that has rules contrary to the state it is operating in. You sir, are an idiot.

  51. @Vike-N-Favre-
    Yeah, keep thinking you kicked our ass. Sure, we beat ourselves a lot last season, but we in no way shape or form took an ass kicking from you douchebags. We beat you last season full strength in the first game and almost completed the sweep despite having one hand tied behind our back.
    But that’s ok though. Keep thinking we’re going to be worse this year than last. Whatever gives you warm fuzzies at night.
    @Eastern Vike-
    Spoken like a true homer. Someone already pointed out that Louisiana’s drug law, while similar to Minnesota’s, makes the exception to NCAA and NFL teams? Why shouldn’t Minny’s law do the same?
    But hey, I can’t control it. Part of me is glad you won’t be able to make excuses should you wind up losing to the Lions, Bears and Packers this season.
    Plus, I guarantee the Vikes won’t be able to hide behind state laws next time.

  52. Hey Sparta,
    How stupid are you, that you would make the comment “Why shouldn’t Minny’s law do the same?”
    Yea and while we’re busy changing Minnesota law, wouldn’t it be better if we just do away with State Legislatures instead and replace them with Roger Goodell and the NFL?
    That way there will be nothing that can interfer with Roger Goodell and his assinine zero tolerance policies!

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