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Others sports join fight against Williamses
Kevin and Pat Williams (Paul Sancya/AP)
Posted Jul 15, 2009
The NFL might not be alone in its desire to suspend Pat and Kevin Williams. The other major professional sports leagues are looking to file paperwork in support of the NFL’s stance, saying state laws shouldn’t supersede collective bargaining agreements made within the leagues.
As if the case of
isn’t difficult enough fighting against the National Football League, it seems their battle will also take on all four major professional sports and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
In a concerted effort between different professional sports, Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL asked for permission Monday to file paperwork in federal court in Minneapolis supporting the position of the NFL, which is trying to suspend the Williamses for four games after being found in violation of the league’s anti-doping policy.
The purpose of the other professional sports leagues trying to pile on the Williamses is that their own collective bargaining agreements with the players could be affected if the Wiliamses are allowed to have their case heard in state court. The federal court case filed on behalf of the Williams Wall by the NFL Players Association was rejected, but because the attorneys for Pat and Kevin also filed claims that certain aspects of their appeal should be heard in state court, those issues were sent back to state court to decide.
Because the NFL and the other major sports operate in many different states, each with its own set of laws concerning drug testing of employees in the workplace, it is feared that a ruling in favor of the Williams Wall could set a bad precedent for all four sports and weaken their ability to police their own players.
In a statement to NFL.com, the league’s official website, Peter Ginsberg, the lead attorney for Pat and Kevin, said he isn’t concerned if the other leagues appear to be ganging up against his clients.
“Sports organizations can’t simply declare that they don’t care about state law and not plan on abiding by state law and use that as justification, as the NFL has attempted to do,” Ginsberg said.
The Williamses’ case in federal court was thrown out in May, but both sides appealed parts of the ruling. Last week, Hennepin County District Court Judge Gary Larson granted a restraining order that prevents the NFL from suspending either player until the case is decided. Larson is the same judge who granted a restraining order last November that delayed the imposition of the four-game suspensions after both Pat and Kevin tested positive for bumetanide, the active ingredient in the supplement StarCaps.
A hearing is scheduled for a week from today on whether the state case should be put on hold until the federal questions are resolved, which clearly would push the matter well into August at a minimum and quite possibly take it into the regular season, if not farther.
If the July 22 hearing rules in favor of putting off the state court case, it could potentially drag on for months, continuing this story that has put Pat and Kevin in an unwanted spotlight for the last 10 months.
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