December 03, 2008

A Little "Hometown Justice": A Minnesota judge blocks the NFL's suspensions of Pat and Kevin Williams.

posted by TheQatarian to football at 08:23 PM - 8 comments

Being a Minnesotan myself, I have to think that this reeks of justice not being totally blind. It reminds me a lot of how MLB's plan to contract the Twins was also blocked by a local court, though in that case, I could sort of understand the legal footing. (The Twins were obligated to provide a product at the Metrodome for 81 dates per season, according to their lease.)

In this case, though, I am much less sure. I think the NFL did screw up to a degree here, but I am not sure if the players in question actually did their homework or if they are just tagging along on another guy's excuse. Even with my local bias, I'm inclined to think it was the latter. But if you can find a judge who isn't quite impartial, you can get anything you want.

Just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

posted by TheQatarian at 08:29 PM on December 03, 2008

So should I or should I not start the Minn. D on my fantasy team?

posted by jasonspaceman at 10:43 PM on December 03, 2008

The Williamses were among six players suspended for four games for testing positive for a diuretic that can be used as a masking agent for steroids. They have argued that the substance containing the diuretic didn't list all its ingredients.

I have two questions:

1. Is this substance banned by the league, or is it what they are suspected of hiding that earned them the suspension?

2. Are there really ingredients that are not listed? It seems that should be easy enough to prove. I'm not saying that should necessarily exonerate them, but that would seem to be an easy detail to nail down.

posted by bender at 08:18 AM on December 04, 2008

Bender, Allow me to answer your questions, sorta, with a little bit of NFL policy:

But in issuing the suspensions, the league reiterated the section of its policy that reads:

"You and you alone are responsible for what goes into your body. Claiming that you used only legally available nutritional supplements will not help you in an appeal. ... Even if they are bought over-the-counter from a known establishment, there is currently no way to be sure that they contain the ingredients listed on the packaging or have not been tainted with prohibited substances ...

"If you take these products, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK! For your own health and success in the league, we strongly encourage you to avoid the use of supplements altogether, or at the very least to be extremely careful about what you choose to take."

The NFL also said it sent two notifications about StarCaps on Dec. 19, 2006 one to NFL club presidents, general managers and head athletic trainers and the second to NFLPA executive Stacy Robinson, who oversees the steroid policy for the union. That letter, according to the league, advised that StarCaps had been added to the list of prohibited dietary supplement companies.

posted by Debo270 at 10:49 AM on December 04, 2008

The thing I didn't really get about the suspensions overall was that Grady Jackson's suspension was suspended pending further review. I don't really get why his case was different from everyone else's. Otherwise, I think Debo270 covered things pretty well.

posted by TheQatarian at 11:54 AM on December 04, 2008

I heard somewhere that Jackson was able to make a more compelling argument as to why he was taking the substance. Health reasons I believe.

Its not in the article, but I think the main argument these players have put forth is that no one from the league communicated to the players that this was on the list of banned substances. So I don't think you have to label it hometown justice. There's some validity to that argument.

posted by curlyelk at 05:09 PM on December 04, 2008

Seems to be some conflicting reports out there. There is the comment that Debo cites, however, I also found this: In letters to the Vikings and Saints on Tuesday, NFL executive vice president Jeffrey Pash acknowledged: "No specific advisory or other communication regarding the presence of bumetanide in StarCaps was sent to NFL players."

I supposed one could argue that the teams should have filtered the information. Perhaps most teams did, which is why there are only a few players stuck in this situation. Or, perhaps these six all were using the product in an attempt to mask the steroids they were taking. Given my allegiance to the Purple and Gold, I will back the Williams' cause until they are proven otherwise.

posted by dviking at 07:01 PM on December 04, 2008

dviking, those reports don't seem to conflict at all. Debo's article doesn't claim it was sent to players or list specific ingredients of StarCaps. Your quote just seems to prove that the NFL actually did drop the ball in ensuring the players ability to make smart decisions regarding their bodies and their careers. My gut reaction to this article was exactly that. I really do believe the players were ignorant to the "list", but you can't plead ignorance. (Apparently, the NFL has a rule against that too. See above.)

Also, if StarCaps is on the list of prohibited dietary supplement companies, it doesn't matter what the ingredients are anyway. No player should be taking it at all right?

posted by BoKnows at 03:05 AM on December 05, 2008

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