Vikings defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams want their StarCaps case with the NFL to be over, but in the right way.
The Williams Wall has been appealing four-game suspensions since the 2008 season and the case continues to drag out in the appeals process. The latest ruling came earlier this month when Hennepin County District Court Judge Gary Larson stayed their suspensions until the case is through the appeals process. Earlier this week, the Williamses formally filed their appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which could push a resolution until after the 2010 season.
"I just want to say where we're finished with it. It ain't never over. It's still dragging," Pat said Thursday.
"I just want everything to be right. Playing in the NFL, it's like a privilege for the players, so I want everything to be equal. I want them to treat us the same way we treat the NFL, like (when) we're out in public we represent the NFL. So I want them to treat us the same way."
The Williamses were suspended four games for ingesting bumetanide, a banned substance by the NFL but one that wasn't listed on the label of the diuretic StarCaps. But even with the case likely to last two years and both players long since tired of dealing with it, Kevin said Thursday he still doesn't wish he had just taken the initial suspension at the end of the 2008 season.
"I don't think I ever wish I'd just taken the suspension. I wish they (the NFL) would take some ownership in what's going on. We took the pills or whatnot, but there's some wrongdoing on their side too," Kevin said.
The legal proceedings to this point have revealed that the NFL knew that StarCaps contained bumetanide and didn't warn the players, teams or the union about it. The league also didn't suspend players that had previously tested positive for bumetanide. Instead, the league sent out a general warning about using unapproved diuretics.
Pat said he wants everything to be equal.
Larson's summary of his ruling indicated that he believes the Williamses have a good case on appeal. Kevin said he's seen parts of the ruling, but he knows the battle with the league isn't over yet.
"I haven't seen it word for word, but I've heard that. That's how it's been going on the whole case. We win the small battles, but the ultimate thing is we want to win the war and right now that's not over," he said.
"It's a good thing, but to us it's not over. That's just something that's dragging it out even longer. I think me and Pat both want the situation to be over with. We're trying to get the appeal going, but we wish it would happen sooner."
That desire would lead the Williamses to consider a settlement, Kevin said.
"We want it go away. If that being us settling something, that's settling something. We're not trying to go through this another year, I don't think," he said.
"We'd always be open to settling something – but fair, not just what they're thinking."
Pat said if they ultimately are suspended, the players would just have to deal with the consequences.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier knows how important his Pro Bowl tackles are to the defense and doesn't want to see them suspended. He called the latest ruling a "major relief."
"You don't want to go into any football season without those two guys," Frazier said. "One is for sure a future Hall of Famer, another one is a potential Hall of Famer. We've got some good players in backup roles, but they're not Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. It's a bit of a relief. And hopefully things will work out where we do have them. There are still some things going on. It's not completely over, but it's looking pretty good."
Pat admitted he could be retired before the case is over – he's in the final year of his contract and talked about retiring after last season – but he wants to see a ruling in their favor so the younger Kevin won't have to deal with it either.
"I just want them to call me and say, ‘Pat, it's done.' It's still dragging on," Pat said.
"You know how lawyers (are). Lawyers will be lawyers. Everybody knows how lawyers (are), so they're going to fight with you regardless. One lawyer thinks he's going to be better than another lawyer, so lawyers are going to fight regardless."
The players just wish the fight was over, but they continue to seek a fair resolution.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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