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StarCaps Ruling Could Give Vikings Unfair Advantage

By September 13, 2009

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When a ruling was handed down recently in the StarCaps case, essentially protecting Minnesota Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams from four-game suspensions imposed by the league for ingesting a banned substance, it was noted by many that it created an unfair situation. On the surface, it's obviously not right that the Williams Wall would be left standing (thanks to drug-testing laws in Minnesota that were not accounted for in the current collective bargaining agreement) while two key members of the New Orleans Saints defensive line, Will Smith and Charles Grant apparently will be forced to serve their suspensions for the exact same violation.

As blatantly unfair as that seems, it's only the half of it.

Unless the league and Players' Union agree to do something to rectify the current situation, the Vikings could theoretically gain a competitive advantage because of the legal protections offered by playing in Minneapolis.

As it stands at the moment, Vikings players could use any number of banned performance-enhancing substances to improve their abilities, making them bigger, faster, and stronger than they might otherwise have been had they played for another team.

And as if that isn't enough, there might also be an extra incentive for some to come to Minnesota to get out from under the threat of being suspended because of a failed drug test.

Think of the advantage that might create as well in recruiting free agents. I mean, is it too much to suggest that guys might be more inclined to look to the Vikings in free agency as a place to be all they can be? Especially those who already have a positive test on their record and face suspension with a second?

Obviously the NFL and Players Union need to get together on this issue soon and close the loophole before the integrity of the game is affected.


September 15, 2009 at 12:34 am
(1) Viking Guy says:

Your article is very incomplete, and really has poor insight into the situation. Did you mention that it is ILLEGAL to bargain away your rights? NO. Did it mention that the Williams are not being questioned for steroid use? No. Did it mention that the league had promoted starcaps prior to 2006? No. In Minnesota, no employee can be penalized for a single positive test. (to insure that there is not a false positive). In Minnesota, you can only be drug tested while you are being paid. In the NFL players are only paid during each and every regular season game. So in order for testing to be leagal in MN, 1. Need two positive tests..(which can be administered one right after the other) 2. The employee must be “On the clock” while they are being tested. So either they would need to collect samples on game day, or they would have to structure part of their pay, as to pay them while thier samples are being collected.

Basically, the players cannot bargain away thier rights, even if they want to. Each an every state has different laws governing the treatment of it workers, and to say that the NFL is above the law, and it would require too much work to see what it would take to employ players in 16 states or what ever it is is laughable. There is plenty of money to do that, Regular businesses have to comply with labor laws in each state that they do business with, so why wouldn’t the NFL?

Most people are just mad, because someone had the balls to stand up to the NFL. I am glad the NFL is loosing, and I think that if the NFL wins, you will see multi state companies, say “How come we have to comply with state laws, when the NFL doesn’t have to?” Or are you condoning hugh corporation to run roughshod over each state that they employ in.

A slippery slope when you talk about limiting rights of workers.

September 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm
(2) Rich says:

So we’re saying the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution is blantantly unfair or what? It has been around since 1791, and not exactly a sneak attack. I don’t think so. The States are guaranteed the power to pass laws by the Constitution.

If the CBA is blatantly unfair, we know that both the NFL and the players union signed it. In order to make it fair would require them to both agree on fixing it, which requires mutual trust. The union apparently thought the steroids policy would be used to protect the health of players. The NFL apparently thought it was a tool to bash people who were not taking steroids. If the NFL cared about public health, it would have released its findings that someone was putting a prescription substance into an over-the-counter product. The NFL decided to remain silent on that. That was a trust issue, blatant cowardice, and lack of respect for doing the right thing.

Why would any party quickly reach another agreement with another party that has shown itself to disrespect them?

September 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm
(3) John says:

I think the real question should be “should a player be suspended for something that wasn”t listed on the package” ,and whether or not the company should be sued for false advertising.In my eyes if someone reads something on a package and knows something is wrong and still does it,then it’s that persons risk….but reading and not finding a banned substance,then taking it….well the guilt should be forfeited.

September 16, 2009 at 9:02 am
(4) Eddie says:

You fail to mention the fact the NFL knew the banned substance was in starcaps and failed to inform the players.

And where you come up with players being able to go to Minnesota and knowingly take banned substances is by far one of the dumbest statements i’ve seen on this issue.

September 25, 2009 at 6:10 pm
(5) Newell Chester says:

Your column should be flagged for being off side on this issue.

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