In a ruling that's certain to anger Herr Goodell and the rest of the folks at the NFL offices in New York, Judge Gary Larson today ruled that the league can't suspend Pat Williams or Kevin Williams while they fight their bogus four-game suspensions in the court system.
"Public policy . . . dictates that [the NFL] should not be permitted to benefit from its own misconduct," Larson wrote. "Here, [the NFL] knew Star Caps contained Bumetanide, that players were ingesting Bumetanide, that Bumetanide was dangerous, and withheld information about Star Caps, knowing that players would suffer as a result. [The NFL] created a trap that it knew would result in violations of the program."
In response to the argument by the league that it would be harmed by an injunction, Judge Larson disagreed.
"[The NFL] could have easily avoided this very situation by informing players or teams about what it already knew -- that Star Caps contained a hidden, dangerous substance," Larson explained. "[The NFL] knew that many players were already inadvertently ingesting Bumetanide, and continued to place the health, safety, and welfare of its players in jeopardy, so that Adolpho Birch could play a game of gotcha. The league clearly allowed a half dozen other players to use Bumetanide without punishment."
Translation: "The National Football League is attempting to screw the Minnesota Vikings, and that really shouldn't be allowed to happen."
If you read Pro Football Talk or Kevin Seifert's ESPN.com blog on the NFC North, you'll note that the whining has already started in earnest from Wisconsin and Illinois. I'm not sure why. . .there really wasn't much chance of those teams catching the Vikings in 2010 had the suspensions been allowed to happen, and now there's zero chance of it. But to everyone that's whining about Pat and Kevin Williams getting away with something here, allow me to make a small request of you.
Either present a good, solid argument as to why six other players tested positive for the same substance that Kevin and Pat Williams tested positive for were allowed to get away without suspension, yet the Williams Wall should be suspended. . .or shut up and stop talking about it, because you're embarrassing yourself.
Roger Goodell has chosen to maliciously and arbitrarily enforce his league's drug policy against members of the Minnesota Vikings (and Saints DE Will Smith. . .but, really, who cares) after letting six non-Viking players get away with taking the exact same substance, as well as not letting the NFL know that players were taking a potentially fatal substance solely for the purposes of catching them in the act of doing so. It's pathetic, and the judge in this case has let the NFL know that with his ruling today.
According to Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, the ruling means that the Williams Wall will likely stand throughout the 2010 season.
Even if the NFL expedites the process before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, nothing in Judge Larson's order suggests that it applies only to the first of two levels available to the Williamses. After the Minnesota Court of Appeals comes the Minnesota Supreme Court, and it would be virtually unprecedented if both levels of appeal were resolved before the end of the calendar year.
Especially since none of the elected officials who'll be handling the case benefit in any way from moving quickly to ensure that the suspensions can be enforced against two key players of the home team.
So there you have it. Roger Goodell has, again, been told that he's not going to get away with this, and Judge Larson's ruling has opened every single bit of the NFL's conduct up to scrutiny from any higher courts that hear the case in the future.
I believe latter-day American philosopher Ice Cube said it best when he once uttered "today was a good day."