Yesterday Pat and Kevin Williams went into a Hennepin County (Minnesota) District Court and asked a judge to grant a restraining order against the NFL, who are trying to suspend them for violating the banned substance policy. The judge, Gary Larson, indeed issued the order, effectively suspending the suspensions. A full hearing is expected to be held on the matter, perhaps today, after which Larson could issue another order restoring the suspensions and putting our two starting defensive tackles back on the shelf at least for this weekend’s game against Detroit (pending further legal wanking).
In other courtroom developments…the NFLPA has jumped in with a suit of their own intended to block the suspensions of five players including Big Pat and K-Will (Texans long-snapper Bryan Pittman is left out of the suit, leading to speculation that his suspension was not the result of taking StarCaps). The suit, filed in federal court, says the NFL and NFL-employed doctors knew StarCaps contained Bumetadine but never adequately advised players of this, endangering their physical well-being. Meanwhile, the full suit filed by the Williamses against the NFL has been released to the public, and it contains some interesting allegations. Among them is an assertion that the NFL engaged in an “irrational and unexplained cover-up…that was certain to entrap and otherwise compromise NFL players, as well as to jeopardize the players’ health and welfare.” The suit elaborates:
"The NFL, as with all sports organizations, has been increasingly scrutinized by, among others, public officials regarding the use of banned substances, and most especially anabolic steroids. The failure to warn players of the content of StarCaps can only rationally be explained in this context. The instant suspensions provide the NFL with a politically palatable solution to convincing public officials that the League is seriously policing the use of steroids."
In other words, the Williamses and the others caught in the StarCaps mess are sacrificial lambs being offered up to politicians so the NFL can say they’re doing something to clean up steroids. This sounds like a bizarre, Coast-to-Coast AM-like accusation to me and I’m sure it will to the judge as well. If this is all the Williamses’ lawyers could come up with…well, say goodbye to them for the rest of the season, unless the NFLPA suit proves more convincing.