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Was Challenging the Suspensions of 5 NFL Players a Smart Thing to Do?

Kevin Williams

Kevin Williams

Earlier this week Minnesota Vikings defensive linemen Kevin and Pat Williams along with three members of the New Orleans Saints were suspended for four games each for testing positive for bumetinide, a diuretic banned by the NFL, contained in the supplement Starcaps.  Starcaps did not list the diuretic in it’s ingredients and the players claim they did not know they were ingesting bumetinide, which can be used to mask steroids.  The players with the help of the NFL Players Association challenged the suspensions in court and argued that the NFL did not properly inform players about the banned substance.  The NFL argues that the NFL collective bargaining agreement prevents any action by the players suspended and the NFL had no duty to warn players not to ingest a particular supplement, only that the particular diuretic should not be ingested.

Today a federal judge in Minnesota prevented the NFL from suspending  the players so that he could analyze the legality of the suspensions.  The judge granted temporary restraining orders that will allow the players to participate in this weeks upcoming NFL games.    The judge is expected to give a final ruling as to whether the suspensions are legal sometime next week after analyzing the arguments of both sides.   The full article can be found here:  http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3747957

It is always a good thing to be an advocate for players rights, however delaying the suspensions could cause the players to miss valuable playoff games that could cost their teams their seasons and a chance at the Super Bowl if the court ruling drags on much longer.  If the judge rules that the suspensions should be enforced, the four game suspension will be served immediately and the players would miss the next week of play after the rulings.  If the players had a good argument then it would make sense to challenge the ruling, however in this case the NFL collective bargaining agreement clearly states that players are responsible for what they put in their body, and here, they ingested a banned substance contained in a weight loss supplement.   The moral of the story is, an NFL athlete must always know all the ingredients of everything that they are ingesting, whether the ingredients are listed on the label or not.   Lets just hope that no playoff games are missed because of this challenge.

 

 
 
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