The NFL won the first round against the Williams boys.

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Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson has ruled that Kevin and Pat Williams, DTs for the Vikings, have to serve their 4 game suspensions ordered for violating the NFL Substance policy. The two were granted an injunction against the suspensions pending the outcome of the court case in Minnesota Hennepin County court. Judge Larson will hold a hearing today to determine if the injunction will be granted again pending the two players appeal of his decision.

This is a critical case not only for the NFL but for every professional sports league. The key issue revolved around the claim by the players that the state law of Minnesota over rules the negotiated agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA. In addition the Williams claimed that the NFL did not notify them within 3 days and the league leaked the information that the two had violated the drug policy. The court found that although both claims were accurate, the players did not suffer damages from the violations of procedure. The NBA and MLB both filed friends of the court briefs in support of the NFL’s position.

NFLPA Ex. Dir. DeMaurice Smith said “This policy is the most effective in sports when both sides strictly adhere to it and it is fairly applied.” He did not indicate if the union would participate in the expected appeal.

The two DTs were originally suspended for the first 4 games of the 2008 season but got an injunction pending the outcome of a trial on the issues.

There are several reasons that this case is critical to the future of the league. First, the decision indicates that the court accepted the argument that the league was a national organization made up of individually owned franchises. If the federal court finds as the state court did it would allow the league to avoid similar suits in other states based on laws in those jurisdictions.

Second, it could also provide a precedent for the American Needle vs. NFL case that the league is a single entity.

If the NFL succeeds in both cases, it will be in a much better position to dictate terms to the union. Smith knows that and as much as he wants the drug policy to be maintained, he does not want the union to be put in an even worse position in the negotiations for a new CBA.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl,NFLPA,DeMaurice Smith,Vikings,Pat Williams,Kevin Williams,MLB,NBA,Court,Collective Barganing Agreement,Union
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  • Published: Mar 27th, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Niblets for March 2010–We're BACK!

Niblets for March 2010–We're BACK!

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Best comment of the month: “The retired NFL players are pawns in the CBA negotiations.”

by Marvin Cobb on Mar 19th, 2010

Well said, Bill. Thank you for speaking up for us old timers, as we continue to find our voice and stand up for ourselves. The Independent Advocates for Retired Players are gathering for the second year in a row in Las Vegas next month to educate and inspire our fellow former players to find our voices and stand up for better pensions and a reformed disability system that takes into account our unique health challenges. Again, thank you for your support.

I really appreciate all the comments we get. Your comments keep me writing this site. Marvin, I can not add anything to what you have said. Too often both the owners and active players seem to forget that it was the Jim Browns and thousands of other players that have made the game what it is today. Had it not been for them, the current guys would not be getting anything close to the money they enjoy.


Updates on previous columns:

What does the Williams’ case mean for the NFL’s drug policy?

We should know in 6 weeks the outcome in Minnesota state court. Hennepin County Judge Gary Larson has set an April 2nd deadline for both sides filing their final briefs and said that he would have a decision within 6 weeks of that date. On the line is every professional and college sports drug policy in the country. While this one judge will not be the final arbiter, it will one side the advantage of precedence.

American Needle v. NFL

We are still waiting for the decision of the US Supreme Court on this case. If the NFL loses the entire nature of professional leagues will be changed. We will keep you advised.

Does the NFL need to change the overtime rules?

The rule change was approved 28-4. That sounds very close to the vote on the last Collective Bargaining Agreement (30-2) and look how nicely that turned out.

The retired NFL players are pawns in the CBA negotiations.

Hopefully the new CBA will include more for the retired players. I have outlined DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA’s options on dated March 18th. I outlined the leagues options and what a 2011 season without a CBA might look like in the article dated March 22nd. Check that out.


Niblets fresh from the cob:

Cleveland goes 19-0 and wins the 2010 Super Bowl–kind of.

Unfortunately that was not the Cleveland Browns, it was my Cleveland team in the Elway League. If you are missing fantasy football, try a free league at It lets you trade players and draft choices, draft, and play a season a month. It’s great fun and it is absolutely free.

The nature of the 2010 NFL Draft

“It was the best of times and the worst of times.” No, I am not rewriting the great novels of history but this draft is exactly that. There are not a lot of big school top picks or the traditional senior “name brands” that the casual fan will recognize in this draft. Part of that is because there are so many juniors coming out this year. But this draft is the deepest draft I have seen in the last 10 years. Understand that I have been studying the draft since 1960 so I am kind of new at this.

The D prospects are particularly deep with a lot of small school guys that are outstanding prospects. Check out my “under the radar” columns in the blog area for the guys that I think will be real steals in the later rounds of the draft.

The NFL teams are taking advantage of the uncapped year.

Teams have used this uncapped year to eliminate bad contracts for overpaid players and cut their total salary liability. 12 teams are now under the 2090 minimum salary and more are headed there soon. DeMaurice Smith once said the NFLPA would never agree to a salary cap in the future. He is now preaching the value of a salary cap. That shows us all how much the economic downturn has impacted the teams.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Draft prospects,DeMaurice Smith,NFLPA,Collective Barganing Agreement,NFL Negotiations,2010 NFL DRAFT,Rule changes,CBA,union,Independent Advocates for Retired Players,Hennepin County Judge Gary Larson,American Needle v. NFL,Super Bowl,,

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