Williams Wall case back in the spotlight

Kevin and Pat Williams continue to play because the NFL hasn't been able to successfully impose its four-game suspension of the two players due to a state law that conflicts with how the league handled the suspensions. A House subcommittee will hear testimony from the league and the players union today.

The Vikings officially start their bye week today, but two Vikings will be at the center of attention – not in the field, but in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C.

Hearings are going to start today in the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to testify and the league is going to ask Congress to enact legislation that would uphold the NFL's ability to give the steroid and anti-doping testing policy the ability to override state court rulings.

The primary reason for the subcommittee to convene its hearing has been the inability of the NFL to enforce its four-game suspensions of Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. The case has been working its way through the courts and the NFL has consistently lost in respect to the Williamses' claim that the collectively-bargained policy violates Minnesota state Workplace Act laws.

In his written testimony submitted prior to today's hearing, Goodell said, "We believe that a specific and tailored amendment top the Labor-Management Relations Act is appropriate and necessary to protect collectively-bargained steroid policies from attack under state law. Our view is supported by the other major professional sports leagues, as well as the United States Anti-Doping Agency. A narrow and targeted amendment would preserve the rights of sports leagues and their player associations to negotiate and administer effective anti-drug and steroid programs."

In addition to Goodell, NFL Players Association Director DeMaurice Smith is also expected to testify today. In his written testimony, Smith said that the union and the NFL can address the issues through its own collective bargaining process.

"We believe that the most effective way to ensure that our collectively-bargained policy does not conflict with any state law is for the league and our union to draft carefully-crafted language in the new CBA that reflects our acute awareness to these issues," Smith said. "We are confident that we can effectively work through the collective bargaining process with the league to implement changes that will better protect our players, ensure the uniform application of the drug testing policy and strengthen the integrity of that policy."

It is not expected that either Pat or Kevin Williams will be testifying at the hearing.

TUESDAY NOTES

  • Vikings receiver/return man Percy Harvin is up for NFL rookie of the week, an award he won last week. On Sunday, Harvin had five receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown and averaged 35 yards on five kickoff returns in the Vikings' 38-26 victory against the Green Bay Packers. Fan voting is taking place at NFL.com.

  • In an interview with Sports Illustrated's Peter King, Favre hinted that he may be a Viking for just this season, saying of Sunday's game, "I knew it'd probably be the last time I'd ever step foot on Lambeau Field."

  • The Vikings weren't the only team with QB issues. Aaron Rodgers of the Packers suffered a sprained foot and it won't be until the Packers resume practice on Wednesday that the full extent of his injuries will be known.

  • It's no wonder Rodgers suffered an injury, considering he spent much of the two games against the Vikings he spent running for his life. In two games, he was sacked 14 times – with 7.5 of those sacks going to Jared Allen. In contrast, the Packers didn't get a single sack in two games against Favre.

  • Offensive lineman Clint Oldenburg, who briefly spent time with the Vikings last month, was signed to the Redskins practice squad Monday.

  • Vikings fans likely have little sympathy for the plight of wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh of the Seahawks, who is frustrated in Seattle. The common speculation is that if the Vikings had signed Houshmandzadeh during free agency as they tried so hard to do, not only would they not have drafted Harvin in the first round, but that they likely wouldn't have had the available money to pay Favre what he and his agent were looking for.


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