A wave of panic washed over Vikings fans last month when it was reported by FOX Sports' Jay Glazer that the Williamses were among eight players that tested positive for Bumetanide, which has been linked to masking the use of steroids. In the past, fans have learned about the positive tests only after the league has announced a suspension or handed down a penalty that players can appeal. This time, the news leaked early and may have provided an insight into the process involved in handing down suspensions or hearing appeals.
The positive tests are believed to have come during training camp and the culprit has been a product called StarCaps. The team at the center of the controversy has been the New Orleans Saints, whose players have fought back angrily, ranging from running back Deuce McAllister saying he checked out the product with someone in the organization (which is apparently a league no-no in itself) and got the all-clear to offensive lineman Jamar Nesbit filing a lawsuit against the company for misleading product information – StarCaps did not list Bumentanide as an ingredient.
Just this week, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson joined the fold of NFL players filing suit against the makers of StarCaps, seeking money for potential lost wages if he is suspended by the league. Jackson's case is reportedly under appeal with no date set to hear his case.
The NFL takes its drug policy very seriously and is vehement about keeping its program confidential. The confidentiality portion of the agreement was blown out of the water by the FOX Sports report and the entire process is being thrown into the light, as the investigation process drags on.
There has been speculation that, due to the misleading packaging of the product, that the players may avoid the wrath of the NFL drug police, but there is also the school of thought that maintains the NFL has a no-tolerance policy and players are responsible for what they put in their bodies – whether knowingly or not.
If/when suspensions do come down, they will likely happen early in the week of preparation for the next opponent so the team will have time to make the needed adjustments. Clearly, that doesn't appear as though it will happen this week. And the beat goes on.