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Florio: Hope Still Alive for Williamses

Mike Florio wrote an excellent article on the latest development in the Williams Wall saga -- turns out things might be a bit more hopeful than I initially thought, as Florio seems to think Pat and Kevin still have a good argument against the suspension.  There are two issues that will be decided in state court regarding the NFL's suspension of the Williams Wall after the two tested positive for a banned diuretic...

One claim arises under the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act.  As explained by Judge Magnuson, this law confines employee drug testing in Minnesota to the specific procedures permitted by the law itself.  In other words, any testing or discipline not permitted by the law is not permitted.

As further explained by Judge Magnuson, the law prohibits employers from imposing discipline based on a single positive test.

And, well, that's exactly what the NFL did -- they imposed a punishment on Pat and Kevin Williams for a single infraction.  Here's the second issue in play as the Williams Wall's case heads to state court:

Also, the Minnesota Consumable Products Act prohibits employers from taking action against employees who have “engaged in the use or enjoyment of lawful consumable products, if the use or enjoyment takes place off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours.”

In English, this means that Vikings players are entitled, per Minnesota statutory law, to consume away from the workplace and on their own time any supplements sold legally and lawfully.  The fact that the U.S. government has done a traditionally dreadful job of regulating the supplement industry is not something for which Vikings players or other Minnesota employees are responsible.  Under the Consumable Products Act, employees are entitled to consume on their own time and off the employer’s premises anything that can be legally purchased.

At the end of the day, then, Friday evening's news of Judge Magnuson denying most of their claims was a setback but it was hardly the knockout punch to Pat and Kevin's chances of participating in the first four games of the season and avoiding the suspension entirely.  Florio spent nearly two decades practicing law -- say what you want about Pro Football Talk, but on legal matters, he's an excellent source.

Just think of the can of worms this case might end up opening -- as Florio mentions at the end of the article, the league's steroids policy might need to be adjusted to fit the laws of any state that has an NFL team.  The consequences of this case go well beyond the Williamses.  As of now, though, they're obviously our first concern, and their argument could be far from over.  We head to state court next, and as Pat and Kevin know, there's no better advantage than homefield advantage.