Hit the link for the Strib's full report on today's court ruling, but in a nutshell, there's reason to celebrate: The Williams Wall just moved one step closer to playing the complete 2009 season:
Minnesota Vikings Kevin and Pat Williams can play the entire season unless a federal court claims jurisdiction over their lawsuit challenging the NFL's drug-testing procedures, Hennepin County District Court Judge Gary Larson ruled this morning.
Larson stayed action in his courtroom until the U.S. District Court determines whether it has jurisdiction on some of the players' claims.
August 18th is the new big day for the Williams Wall -- that's when federal appeals court will hear oral arguments in the case. If Pat and Kevin get through that final obstacle, and the case heads back to state court, the thing will be put on hold until after the season has reached a conclusion. So they'd be available for the full season.
Minnesota state law prohibits employers from imposing a punishment on employees for a single positive drug test. Therefore, the Williamses argue that their suspension isn't permitted by state law. In order for the Williamses to be suspended, the federal appeals court would need to reverse the ruling of Judge Paul Magnuson -- who referred Pat and Kevin's claim that the NFL violated that law to state court.
It's a confusing story, but here's the bottom line. If federal appeals court decides it doesn't have jurisdiction over the remaining claims by the Williams Wall, they're home free -- for at least the 2009 season. If the opposite occurs in federal appeals court and it reverses Magnuson's ruling, the suspension will go on after all.