A judge today ruled that Pat and Kevin Williams can sue the NFL in Hennepin County for allegedly violating state drug-testing laws.
The Williamses--the unrelated anchors of the Vikings defensive line aka The Williams Wall--have been battling the NFL in court since 2008 when the league slapped them with a four-game suspension. They had tested positive for StarCaps, a league-banned weight-loss supplemant. The linemen maintain that the NFL did not properly inform players about the drug.
The Williamses are looking to sue the League for wrongfully suspending them four games. The question up until today was whether they could legally do so.
Basically, the argument was over who is the duo's legal employers. The NFL has maintained that the Williamses can't sue it (the NFL) because they (the Williamses) are employed by the Vikings. Today's ruling, among other things, that the Williamses are employed by the NFL and can thus sue the NFL for allegedly violating Minnesota's Drug Testing in the Workplace Act.
The PiPress has the skinny:
[Judge Gary Larson] determined the league did not inform the Williamses within three days that they had failed their drug tests, as required under the Drug Testing in the Workplace Act. Larson also ruled DATWA does not violate the commerce clause and does not place an undue burden on professional sports' drug-testing policies, a key victory for the Williamses
So that's the good news for the Williams Wall. The bad news:
[Judge Larson] said the league allowed the Williamses to give written explanations for positive tests, that the Vikings players had exhausted their administrative remedies through arbitration and that the NFL did not retaliate against the Williamses by randomly testing them after they had tested positive for a banned substance.
Whether or not the Williamses will take the field when the Vikes kickoff the 2010 season will be left up to a judge when the Wall go to trial on March 8.