Posted on: September 2, 2011 6:39 pm

Kevin Williams, Will Smith suspended two games

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The fall out from the StarCaps case is officially complete.

Already, we had told you about Vikings defensive end Kevin Williams and the likelihood of his original four-game suspension being reduced to two games, and today comes word, via Rapid Reporter Larry Holder, that Saints defensive end Will Smith will face the same two-game suspension.*

*The New Orleans Times Picayune reports that Smith still will miss four game checks. So will Williams, by the way.

The suspensions for Smith and Williams begin Saturday, Sept. 3 and end Sept. 19. The four game checks will cost Smith $1.5 million.

Charles Grant and Pat Williams, both of whom are free agents, also have been suspended.

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 7:20 pm

New drug punishment system could help Williams

K. Williams could be facing a two-game suspension rather than a four-game suspension (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It looks like the fallout from the StarCaps case* finally will end, and it might have given way to a completely new way to punish those who test positive for drugs.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Kevin Williams will have his original four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy reduced to two games, because, in this new (still hypothetical) system of punishment, the NFL could suspend those players either for two games or for six games.

*Which gave reporters a tiny intro into legal reporting before the lockout hit and made us all reach for our law review books.

In April, a Minnesota court ruled that the NFL could proceed with the suspension of Williams (and former Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams and Saints defensive end Will Smith), who had tested positive for a banned diuretic that was not listed in the ingredients of the StarCaps weight loss supplement he had been taking.

Which, at this point, should be OK with Williams.

In May, he claimed he was at peace with the court’s decision, saying, “With all this (lockout stuff) going on, maybe (the NFL will) forget about it and we can go on with our regular work. If it happens, it happens. I found a great place to work out in Little Rock. I'll be there getting ready and see you in Week 5, if that's the case."

Funny thing, the NFL didn’t forget it, but it sounds like the league is willing to go a little lighter on his suspension as well.

The reason for that, writes the Pioneer Press, is because, while the NFL and NFLPA meet to figure out if the union will accept HGH testing, the two sides would implement that new punishment system for positive drug tests -- two-game suspensions for diuretics and six games for steroids.

Since Williams fits into the former category, he automatically would go from four to two.

-In other Kevin Williams news, the Pioneer Press writes that he has plantar fasciitis and will miss the final two preseason games.

"Everything's good, though," Williams said. "Just trying to take some precautions, find out exactly what's going on. I'll be ready for the season. It's nothing bad."

Asked if he’d be ready to play in the season-opener against the Chargers, he said, “I’ll be there.”

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Posted on: May 23, 2011 5:10 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 6:53 pm

Kevin Williams at peace with likely suspension

Posted by Andy Benoit

A few weeks ago, the NFL quietly won thK. Williams (US Presswire)e never-ending court battle against Pat and Kevin Williams in the StarCaps case. (That ruling in the Minnesota Supreme Court flew under the radar because it came at the same time that a different Minnesota court was ruling on a much bigger and no-longer-fun-to-talk-about case involving the NFL.)

With the court ruling in favor of the league, expect the four-game suspensions of the Williams Wall and Saints defensive end Will Smith to be upheld. Kevin Williams told Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press that he is ready to accept the suspension and, after three years of fighting, is finally at peace with the whole thing. He’s also optimistic that the NFL might, you know, just sort of forget about the whole thing. (Don’t count on it.)

"With all this (lockout stuff) going on, maybe (the NFL will) forget about it and we can go on with our regular work," he said. "If it happens, it happens. I found a great place to work out in Little Rock. I'll be there getting ready and see you in Week 5, if that's the case."

Whether Williams will be lining up next to Pat Williams come Week 5 remains to be seen. The 39-year-old veteran free agent recently said it’s 50-50 on whether he’ll return to Minnesota. He’s not happy with everyone in the organization.

"It's just guys up in the office, man," he said. "You know how the front office is. I don't have a problem with Coach Frazier. Me and Coach Frazier talked. We talked a lot of times. It's just people up in the office, man. With a lockout going on now, it's all the same. Business."

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 4:01 pm

NFL wins in StarCaps case

Posted by Andy Benoit

A court in Minnesota ruled in favor of the NFL on Wednesday. Too bad it wasn’t for the case the owners care most about.

Remember the StarCaps case? Well, league spokesman Greg Aiello announced Thursday on Pro Football Talk Live that the “the Minnesota Supreme Court has just issued this morning an order denying a review of the appeals court decision that went in favor of the league. The result is the case is over and we, the NFL, prevailed in the case.”

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Thus, Vikings defensive tackles Pat Williams (a free agent) and Kevin Williams, as well as Saints defensive end Will Smith, will have to finally serve that four-game suspension they’ve been fighting since 2008.

The whole incident came about after several players tested positive in ’08 for bumetanide, a banned diuretic that was in the StarCaps weight loss supplement but not listed as an ingredient. The players said they shouldn’t be suspended for unknowingly taking the substance. The NFL essentially said rules are rules, and the rules state that the player is solely responsible for what goes into his body. The Minnesota Supreme Court said the NFL was right.

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 10:40 pm

StarCaps: only one Williams will continue fight

Posted by Andy Benoit

Interesting twist in the StarCaps case (yes, it’s still going on):Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune reports that Pat Williams will continue to fight, taking his latest (anK. Williams (US Presswire)d final) appeal to Minnesota’s Supreme Court. But teammate Kevin Williams is surrendering. The All-Pro defensive tackle is prepared to face a four-game suspension if the NFL indeed goes in that direction.

The last time a court heard this case, Minnesota’s Appeals Court refused to block the NFL’s four-game suspensions of the Williamses because the banned diuretic in the StarCaps (Bumetanide) that was found in the players’ systems does not fall under the state’s workplace drug-testing laws.

This latest twist is interesting because not long ago, Pat Williams was the one saying he’s done fighting. The 38-year-old nose tackle even rationalized that a four-game suspension could help him be fresher come season’s end.

If the Minnesota Supreme Court agrees to hear the StarCaps case, Pat Williams could delay his suspension yet another year while the legal process plays out. The StarCaps issue commenced back in December 2008.

Williams Wall

Peter Ginsberg, the attorney for both Williamses, issued a statement:

“Pat and Kevin have both shown an enormous amount of dedication and frankly courage to continue to pursue this litigation. I understand Kevin’s feelings that he’s just had enough with the lawyers, the courts. There are important principles and protections for NFL players and Minnesota employees at stake. Pat has decided, after much deliberation, to continue. What happened to those two men is unfair and egregious and we remain optimistic that at the end of this process justice will finally win out.”

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Posted on: February 8, 2011 7:46 pm

Pat Williams done fighting (and playing for Min?)

Posted by Andy Benoit
P. Williams (US Presswire)
With the Minnesota Appeals Court ruling in favor of the NFL in the never-ending StarCaps case, it looks like a suspension is on the way for the Vikings’ Williams Wall (and for Saints defensive end Will Smith). It’s possible that this case could still wind up in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Pat Williams might not care at this point. The veteran nose tackle claims he’s done fighting.

"I just want it to be over," Williams told Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press. "If I lose, I lose. I'm not mad at anybody. Right now, I want it to be over because it's cost me so much money, close to $1 million (in legal fees). It ain't cheap."

The NFL says it has yet to determine the next step, though four-game suspensions are all but certain. Williams, who will be 39 next year, believes he may actually benefit from sitting four games, as it will help keep him fresh down the stretch.

He’s toyed with the idea of retirement the past few years, and he’s coming off a season in which he fought through a torn triceps (which he disclosed in the interview with Murphy). But the 14-year veteran has no thoughts of hanging ‘em up this offseason.

"I can't quit,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, I still love what I do. I'm an old throwback. Just love getting on that field Sundays and battling it out."

Just for good measure, Williams dropped one more piece of news in his visit with Murphy: he’ll play next season, but likely for a different team. He’s scheduled to be a free agent in March.

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Posted on: August 2, 2010 12:33 pm

More players connected to StarCaps

The Pioneer Press has a very interesting story that suggests Pat and Kevin Williams weren’t the first players to complain about unknown substances in the StarCaps diuretic.

In 2006 and '07, a rash of NFL players tested positive for bumetanide, which troubled Dr. John Lombardo (the NFL’s drug-testing administrator), who had learned that StarCaps, the diuretic they were using, was tainted with the potent drug.

(Lombardo) was so troubled that he exonerated at least eight players, including a pair of Pro Bowlers, because they told Lombardo they unknowingly ingested the banned substance — clemency that clashed with a steroids policy in which players are responsible for what is in their bodies.

Adolpho Birch was unmoved by the players' excuses. The vice president of the NFL's labor policy and its anti-doping enforcer was so troubled by Lombardo's actions that he ordered his subordinate to stop pardoning StarCaps users who failed tests and to start referring them for discipline.

By training camp 2008, StarCaps ceased to be a get-out-of-jail card, exposing to punishment another cluster of users who tested positive for bumetanide, including Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams.

The exonerated players never had steroid accusations hurled at them, and their names did not come up during the Williams trial. Three of those players are still in the league: 49ers CB Nate Clements, Jets OT Damien Woody and Dolphins OT Vernon Carey. Another five are out of football: former Chiefs/Seahawks OT Damion McIntosh, the late Patriots DE Marquis Hill, Bills/Patriots WR Jonathan Smith, Bills FB Daimon Shelton and Giants/Patriots FB Patrick Pass.

According to the Lombardo and Birch depositions, the eight exonerated players linked their failed tests to StarCaps. The controversial weight-loss pill claimed garlic and papaya as active ingredients, but actually was spiked with bumetanide, according to the recall StarCaps' manufacturer, Balanced Health Products, initiated in December 2008. The company has since filed for bankruptcy.
Bumetanide is a diuretic typically prescribed to treat congestive heart failure and renal disease. The NFL and NFLPA classify it as a potential masking agent for steroids.

The consumption of bumetanide was unintentional, the eight players claimed, and they found a sympathetic arbiter in Lombardo.
Ostensibly, the NFL isn’t thrilled that this information has become public.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 24, 2010 11:28 am

Starcaps, Williams Wall: Suspensions After All?

On the surface, it looks like Vikings defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams will almost certainly get to play the entire 2010 season. The Star Tribune reports that courts have ruled that the two defensive tackles cannot serve their four-game suspensions for a positive banned substance test until the appeal process is complete. The NFL’s request for an expedited appeals process was denied yesterday.

The appeal has to do with The Williams Wall contending that the NFL violated Minnesota state law by not giving them timely notice of their positive test results.

But as Pro Football Talk explains, the Williams’s may have screwed up and given the NFL a clear path to legal victory.

This is a story that refuses to die. The StarCaps controversy erupted during the ’08 season.

--Andy Benoit

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com