Congress getting involved in StarCaps case

Pat and Kevin Williams will have their cases against the NFL examined by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee next week. It's another step in a long and winding conflict between the NFL and the players who tested positive for a banned substance.

The U.S. Congress is set to hear the case of Pat Williams and Kevin Williams in their fight against the NFL's banned substance policy next week.

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection will conduct a hearing into the Minnesota law that has allowed the Williams Wall to continue playing against the NFL's imposition of a four-game suspension. The hearing is scheduled for noon CST on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Executives from the NFL and the NFL Players Association are expected to testify. It is unknown at this point whether the Williamses will be called as witnesses. The hearing coincides with the start of the Vikings bye week, so technically there wouldn't be a conflict between attending the hearings in Washington D.C. and missing practice time in Minnesota.

It is believed the case could eventually wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court as the Williamses claim the NFL has violated Minnesota's drug-testing laws by not giving them an opportunity to explain themselves after testing positive to the over-the-counter diuretic StarCaps. The NFL is asking Congress to consider a federal law that would close such legal loopholes that currently are protecting the Williamses from serving their suspensions. The lawyers for Pat and Kevin say their clients have a strong case that has been upheld thus far in court throughout the state and appeals court systems.

While it isn't expected that any ruling will come immediately from the Congressional hearing, it is anticipated that getting Congress involved will keep the ball rolling, much like it did when the same committee structure got baseball to toughen up its drug policy.

WEDNESDAY NOTES

  • Voting has begun for the Pro Bowl at NFL.com and fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite Vikings. The fan vote is factored into who is selected, but it isn't the be-all and end-all. Last year, Redskins fans stuffed the ballot box and had 19 of their starters as the top fan vote-getters, yet only two Redskins were named to the Pro Bowl.

  • While at the NFL's official website, fans have the chance to vote for Percy Harvin as NFL Rookie of the Week. Harvin had three receptions for 42 yards and an 88-yard kickoff return. He is finalist with running backs Shonn Greene of the Jets, Beanie Wells of the Cardinals, safety Jairus Byrd of Buffalo and CB Jacob Lacey of the Colts. The weekly winner will be announced on Friday.

  • We hope to find out more today about the playing status of Antoine Winfield and Bernard Berrian. Winfield has been the subject of debate as to whether he will be out a month or more with a foot injury – a claim Winfield denies – and Berrian suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday's loss at Pittsburgh that he hasn't discussed since.

  • John David Booty had a workout with the Houston Texans Tuesday, according to ProFootballTalk.com. Booty has been cut three times by the Vikings only to be re-signed twice. Because he has cleared through waivers, he could be added to another team's practice squad, but his locker and nameplate remained intact at Winter Park on Monday.

  • As hard as it may be to believe, with one TD pass on Sunday, Brett Favre will have 13 on the season. That would be the most by any Vikings QB in the last four years. Gus Frerotte had 12 TD passes last year.

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released for Vikings offensive lineman Marcus Johnson on Tuesday. It came a day after Johnson was arrested for DUI at 4 a.m. in Tampa when officers found him asleep at the wheel of his SUV in the middle of an intersection.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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