Appeals Court: Vikings Pat Williams, Kevin Williams can play in 2009

The United States Court of Appeals issued a ruling today affirming the district court's decision to allow Minnesota Vikings defensive linemen Pat Williams and Kevin Williams to play in the 2009 season.  This is big news for the 49ers because in week 3 they head up to Minnesota and now get to face the vaunted Williams' Wall that weekend.  Conceivably the US Supreme Court could agree to hear an appeal, but given the timeline for that, a decision probably would not come down until well after the 49ers had played Minnesota.

The Williamses were suspended for taking the banned substance bumetanide and subsequently filed a lawsuit in state court asking that a judge void their suspensions, contending that the NFL's drug-testing procedures violate Minnesota workplace laws.  The NFLPA sued in federal district court on their behalf, leading to this present decision.

The state trial still has to take place but this court of appeals decision basically allows the Williams to play while keeping the remains of the case in Hennepin County District Court.  In that court the judge, Judge Gary Larson, has said he likely wouldn't force the Vikings defensive tackles into a civil trial during the coming season.

The big issue in this case, as explained by Mike Florio (a lawyer) at PFT:

The Minnesota Legislature has passed two drug-testing laws that operate separate and apart from the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and its players union.  These statutes provide extra protections, and the CBA did not take the Minnesota laws into account.
...
Meanwhile, it's now incumbent on the NFL to insert language into the drug policies to close this loophole in the future.  The NFLPA undoubtedly will want a concession in exchange for any such tweaks to the testing procedures.

Given the upcoming CBA negotiations, I'd imagine this is something that will definitely be addressed by the league.  Or at least they will attempt to given that this gives the NFLPA a nice little bargaining chip.

Either way, it definitely doesn't improve the 49ers chances in week 3.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Niners Nation

You must be a member of Niners Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Niners Nation. You should read them.

Join Niners Nation

You must be a member of Niners Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Niners Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker