The Williams Wall, the Vikings' Pro Bowl defensive tackle duo of Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, are among five NFL players that will be able to participate in at least two more games after a U.S. District Court ruling by Judge Paul Magnuson. On Thursday, Magnuson requested that the NFL and the NFL Players Association agree to a trial schedule by Dec. 22.
That ruling would seem to ensure that the players will be eligible to continue playing with the extension of Magnuson's injunction on the four-game suspension the NFL tried to hand the players. And since that Dec. 22 deadline is just to set a trial schedule, it seems likely that the Vikings would be able to keep playing in the regular-season finale and into the playoffs if the team qualifies for postseason play.
The Vikings can secure a playoff spot with a Chicago loss to New Orleans Thursday night and a Minnesota win against Arizona on Sunday.
The Williamses, along with Saints players Deuce McAllister, Will Smith and Charles Grant, were suspended four games for testing positive for Bumetanide, a substance that can be used as a masking agent against steroids. But the players and NFL Players Association contends that the NFL knew about the presence of Bumetanide in the dietary pill StarCaps but didn't properly inform the players of that fact. The labeling for StarCaps did not include Bumetanide among its ingredients.
"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," the union said on its web site on last Thursday. "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."
"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," Richard Berthelsen, acting executive director and general counsel of the NFLPA, said in a statement on the union's web site last Thursday when the original injunction was granted.
Williams Wall will play on
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