While Vikings fans certainly care about what is going on with Kevin and Pat Williams court case, page upon page of legal briefs and motions that contain words only a lawyer could love is, for the most part, going to cause people to lose interest quick. Essentially what you want to know is this: Can the Pro Bowl defensive tackles play Sunday?
Right now, the answer is yes. Granted a temporary restraining order to return to their place of work, the Williamses were back at Winter Park on Wednesday night to begin learning the game plan for Detroit. Before that restraining order was granted, the Williamses were not allowed at Winter Park. In fact, and I did not realize this, players who are under suspension aren’t even allowed to attend their team’s games as a fan.
Now, there is a chance the courts could act on this case today, but considering the NFLPA got involved this morning and filed a suit on behalf of all five players suspended in the StarCaps case in Federal Court in Minneapolis, the best guess is the Williamses temporary restraining order survives the day.
At this point, an educated guess would be Kevin and Pat Williams will be on the field Sunday in Detroit. That doesn’t mean eventually the courts won’t rule in favor of the NFL but that could take some time. That could keep the Williamses eligible for the rest of the season or perhaps the regular season.
Let’s say they play in two games and then before the Dec. 21 game against Atlanta, their suspensions are upheld. That means the suspensions could cost the Williamses a playoff game or two, if the Vikings qualify. At this point, it appears the Vikings (who are technically not part of this legal action) and the Williamses are willing to take that chance.
As for the legal stuff, the NFLPA has issued a press release stating its case. Here it is:
The NFLPA today filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Minneapolis challenging the suspensions of three New Orleans Saints players and two Minnesota Vikings players under the NFL Steroids Policy. The lawsuit claims a breach of duty on the part of league-appointed doctors and the NFL lawyer administering the policy who failed to warn players or the NFLPA that Starcaps–a legal, over the counter product commonly used for weight reduction–contained a substance which is prohibited by the program. These doctors knew as early as 2006 that use of Starcaps could cause a player to test positive under the program, after taking the unusual step of testing that product on their own initiative. The lawsuit requests an immediate injunction against the suspensions so that the five players can continue to help their teams reach the playoffs this season.
Richard Berthelsen, Acting Executive Director and General Counsel of the NFLPA, stated: ”We are taking these steps today in hopes of keeping these players on the playing field. We strongly believe that the doctors and the NFL should have told us and the players what they knew about Starcaps, but for some unknown reason they failed to meet that duty.”