March 4, 2011

Vikings Lose Yet Again

Filed under: Sports Law — Giorgio Varlaro @ 3:51 am

It seems as if the National Football League (NFL) has won when it comes to suspending players for illegal drug enhancement. Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings lost in a Minnesota court last week upholding in a lower court that the league’s suspension of the two players for the 2009-2010 season was justified.

Both Williams and New Orleans Saints’ Will Smith were found to have taken StarCaps, a supplement that included a banned substance (bumetanide). All admitted to taking the supplement, but due to the fact that the two Vikings players were to be suspended for four games, they fought the charges in order to play throughout the rest of the season (probably because both players felt the team had high chances of making to the Super Bowl).

Both Kevin and Pat fought that as employees of a company in Minnesota, they were governed by the state’s drug-test rules, not those of the league. This was overruled when the court said that the NFL did not violate state law because Minnesota’s workplace drug-testing policy did not cover bumetanide.

With the decision made in Minnesota court, it makes it less likely that other players will make similar legal challenges within their state if they are suspended by the league for taking banned substances. It also raises the likelihood that the league will enforce its original suspensions next season upon both players, which was four games.

Furthermore, with a New Collective Bargaining Agreement yet to be signed, this win for the NFL could possibly force players into one of their suggestions, which was a better drug program in the league. Until both sides reach an agreement is another story. And when they might happen is too.

Bumetanide, which is a diuretic that can mask steroids, was the reason these two players went through the process of litigation. Is it unfair to judge players like Kevin and Pat who take performing-enhancing drugs like these? Should have Will Smith gotten pass? Do you feel that because of this case, it might make the players agree to a new drug testing regimen the owners proposed in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement?



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