It’s official. The Minnesota Vikings’ two-tons-of-fun defensive tackles, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams will play this weekend after a federal judge blocked the NFL from suspending the twin tubs of lard.
Williams and Williams – not be confused with Johnson & Johnson – tested positive for a banned diuretic in the dietary supplement StarCaps back in July. They were set to be suspended, along with three New Orleans Saints players in the same situation, for four games. The Vikings were set to fall apart. The Green Bay Packers playoff hopes were set to come off of life support. And now…
The union argued the NFL didn’t properly inform players about the substance. The NFL’s attorneys argued that that claim, and others, had been considered and rejected in a process set out by the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
Jeff Kessler, an attorney for the union, said he was delighted. He said the ruling showed that the NFL isn’t above the law.
“In this particular case, they did not follow the rule of law,” Kessler said.
I don’t think I need to explain how I feel about all of this, especially since (as we detailed on Wednesday) the aforementioned federal judge is also a St. Paul-based judge.
While part of me says there is no way this guy would pull such homer crap, another part of me wonders if judge Robert Magnuson isn’t having a Scotch and cigar with Groucho Marx… I mean, Zygi Wilf right now.
Consider that the NFL has not at anytime previously been subject to such intervention with its policies. Andrew Brandt posted a great column about the situation on Wednesday at the National Football Post.
Of course, to the NFL, this is a lot bigger than Pat Williams and Kevin Williams (and that is big). This is about every single player in the league now and in the future. If a player can go through an appeal process with the league and be disciplined at the end of that process and now have that decision reversed by an outside tribunal, there exists the possibility of anarchy. The magnitude of the judge taking on this case cannot be overestimated. In the event this judge, or any judge, is able to act – and he has already acted in a preliminary way – no decision by the NFL regarding discipline for violation of its policies is final. And the internal process that has heretofore been the staple of the discipline programs will be immediately emasculated.
And so, there goes the neighborhood.