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 https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ 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

What does the Williams' case mean for the NFL's drug policy and the future of the league?

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Six events have put the entire drug policy of NFL and every other sports league’s policy in serious jeopardy.

Event 1—The state courts of Minnesota prohibiting Comm. Goodell from suspending Pat and Kevin Williams (DT, Vikings) for having tested positive for banned substances. When the league first announced the suspensions of several players including both all pro DTs of the Vikes, the Williams took the issue to the Minnesota state courts. The state courts found for the Williams.

Event 2—The NFL took the issue to the Federal court system. The League claimed that since it is a national organization, only the Federal system could decide the issue. A lower federal court used the state decision in part to decide in favor of the players. The league appealed and the Minnesota federal court of Appeals heard the case.

Event 3—The NFLPA joined the fray. When the case was moved to the federal courts, the Union filed suit on behalf of both the Vikings players and three Saints players that were also suspended by the league. The NBA, MLB and the NHL filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the NFL’s position.

Event 4—Last week, that court announced the verdict—no suspensions now or in the future for the failed tests. The decision to cancel the suspensions only affects the Williams because they were the ones that brought the initial suit. The suit by the NFLPA was dismissed. However, there was something more in their decision. The Federal Court sent part of the case back to the Minnesota state court for determination.

Event 5—NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said on ESPN Radio that one of the issues he was interested in negotiating in the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was a way to take the power of suspensions including those for failed drug tests out of the hands of the NFL Commissioner. He said that there should be an independent arbiter or panel that would decide on who would be suspended for how long.

Event 6—New Orleans plays Minnesota in week 2. This is important because 2 of the Saint’s D linemen were also suspended for failing the same test. Both DE Will Smith and Charles Grant had been suspended along with Deuce McAllister who has since been cut. However, the Commissioner reinstated both Smith and Grant earlier this week sighting the need for competitive balance as the reason.

So what does all this mean?

The League’s control of the drug policy is subject to both state and federal courts. The fact that the Federal court saw the state court as having jurisdiction is particularly troubling for the League. There are several suits against the league. The chances for success in these cases will depend upon the league being able to maintain its status as one from many. The right of the league for example to grant a license to EA Sports for the sole use of the names and likenesses of players for its video game depend on the courts seeing the league as one unit.

The NFLPA’s nosing into the issue is also a sign of trouble for a new CBA. The league is not going to give up the right to suspend players willingly. This could be the single issue that prevents an agreement in time to avoid a work stoppage.

The only good news for the NFL in the court’s decision was that the NFLPA’s suit was rejected. But it was rejected only because the union had agreed to the terms that the NFL had the power to suspend.

Look for the league to lose more suits due to the court’s decision. This decision sets a bad precedent because it breaks what had been a continuous run of the courts seeing the league as one unit. It also reestablishes the right of the courts over the CBA and league rules.

I see the reinstatement of the Saints as the league accepting this new reality. I cannot see a resolution to the CBA before the start of the 2010 season. That means 10 will be an uncapped year. The likelihood of the NFLPA agreeing to a new cap after an uncapped year is remote at best. The probability is also that the union will win some type of guarantee for contracts. It’s too early to tell exactly which deals or how much of contracts will become guaranteed. But these two changes will destroy the competitive balance of the league as we have known it. And those of us that love the game will remember the old CBA fondly.

This will be a major sticking point over which a strike/work stoppage could well result.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl,nflpa,collective bargaining agreement,CBA,Goodell,Smith,Williams,Federal Court,ESPN Radio,steroids,drug policy,Grant,law suit
  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 18th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on HE'S BACK!! Bret Favre signs with the Vikings.

HE'S BACK!! Bret Favre signs with the Vikings.

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t

The 08 Vikings had an outstanding D, solid O line, the best RB in the league but no quality WRs and not much at QB. The result was an good season including winning the NFC North title ended without success in the playoffs. Now Favre steps into the huddle. But having Favre at QB doesn’t answer all the questions, it just creates others. The QB question is will Favre last the whole season? Probably. Is he an upgrade over what they had? Definitely.

Favre can do what the Vikes want to—pass just enough to keep the D honest. Will he? Probably not. Favre wants to put the ball down the field. But he will do what he is asked to do most of the time because even more than long TDs, he wants to stick it to the Packers.

Another question is does Coach Brad Childress lose credibility with the locker room? That depends on what he told the team vs. what he said publicly. If he was honest with the team, he will be fine. If he wasn’t honest with his team there will be a problem.

Favre has some nice weapons in his quiver. WRs Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice will start despite what you have read about Bobby Wade. Favre loves the occasional deep ball and both can go deep. Rookie Percy Harvin will challenge Wade for the slot receiver. But if Wade doesn’t win a job to start or be the 3rd WR, he my not make the team. The TE is Visanthe Shiancoe. After a year and half struggle, he finally came on at the end of 08 and has the potential to be outstanding.

There is no doubt about the running game. Adrian Peterson is the best back in the league and will get even better if Favre can complete enough passes to keep 47 guys out of the box. AP should be the first draft in most Fantasy drafts this season. RB Chester Taylor is starting quality and gives AP a blow. You won’t hear his name much because the announcers can’t pronounce it but Naufahu Tahi is solid at FB.

The line of LT Bryant McKinnie, LG Steve Hutchinson, C John Sullivan, RG Anthony Herrera and RT Phil Loadholt is outstanding. Rookie Loadholt and C Sullivan are the new comers. Loadholt has potential and looked good in the first preseason game. Sullivan replaced the aged Matt Birk who went on to Baltimore. Hutch is all pro and plays like it. McKinnie seems to have gotten the message after being suspended last season for substance abuse and played well. Last year T Ryan Cook started most of the season and is the backup plan if Loadhold faulters. G/T Artis Hicks provides versatility as a backup as well.

The league tried to suspend DTs Pat Williams and Kevin Williams but they went to a state court and got the suspension put on hold. The issue is still not fully decided. The Williams boys are the best pair of DTs in the league. They join DEs Ray Edwards and Jared Allen, although Allen was injured recently and his status is undetermined. The line when healthy provides an excellent pass rush and stuff the run with authority. DE’s Brian Robison and Kenechi Udeze (assuming he is healthy) provide depth and Robinson will challenge Edwards to start.

SLB Chad Greenway and MLB E.J. Henderson are athletic and fast. They are a perfect complement to the D line. The team missed Henderson who lost the last 12 games of the regular season to injury. WLB Ben Leber is solid against the run and above average vs. the pass. Heath Farwell is back from injury to provide depth and rookie Jasper Brinkley has speed and potential.

The D backfield has some issues. CB Antoine Winfield was all pro last year and wanted a new deal but at 32, the team was slow to offer it. They got it done and Windfield is happy and richer. CB Cedric Griffin came on nicely last year. S Tyrell Johnson is a first time starter and is unproven but has potential. S Madieu Williams is coming off an injury. The nickel back is undetermined. CBs Marcus McCauley, Asher Allen, Karl Paymah, and Benny Sapp will battle for the spot and the bench positions.

OVERALL: The Vikings are now a real threat to win the NFC and the Super Bowl. They have all the parts and less holes than most of the other teams. The big question is Favre and the DBs. Favre should be at least better than the rest of the QBs. The DBs will have to hold up under a lot of passing attacks. The Vikes will score a lot of points and teams will have to pass to try and catch up.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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