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Updated: February 8th, 2011 10:41am
Lower-court ruling upheld in StarCaps case; another appeal to come?

Lower-court ruling upheld in StarCaps case; another appeal to come?

by Tom Pelissero
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Kevin Williams and Pat Williams once again are facing the suspensions the NFL handed down more than two years ago.

The Minnesota State Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a lower-court ruling in the long-running StarCaps case -- denying the Williamses' request for a permanent injunction and seemingly clearing the way for the NFL to enforce the four-game bans that have been tied up in the courts since 2008.

Of course, we've been here before. And the Minnesota Vikings' defensive tackles have continued to appeal, which they're expected to do again to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

"We are pleased that the Minnesota Court of Appeals, like all other federal and state courts to hear the matter, has unanimously upheld the structure and operation of the NFL's collectively bargained Policy on Steroids and Related Substances," league spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement.

"Today's opinion confirms the testing program did not violate Minnesota state law and vindicates the policy and procedures of the program. We are in the process of reviewing the decision and determining our next steps."

According to the Pioneer Press:

Minnesota's Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act does not regulate bumetanide, the prescription drug found in StarCaps, the tainted weight-loss supplement the Williamses used, which means the NFL did not violate state law by trying to discipline them, the Court of Appeals ruled today.

The Williamses have played the last three seasons because Hennepin County Judge Gary Larson issued a temporary restraining blocking the NFL from suspending the linemen during their lawsuit. Larson denied the Williamses' quest for a permanent injunction.

Appellate Judge Francis Connolly, in an 11-page opinion, upheld Larson's decision.

The suspensions were triggered when the Williamses tested positive for bumetanide, violating the NFL's policy of performance-enhancing drugs. Neither has been accused of taking steriods or other banned substances.

Kevin Williams, 30, remains under contract through 2014. Pat Williams, 38, can become an unrestricted free agent next month and isn't expected to return to the Vikings.

UPDATE, 4:35 p.m.: At least half of the Williams Wall may be ready to give up the legal fight.

Pat Williams told the Pioneer Press after Tuesday's ruling that "I just want it to be over. 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."

His agent, Angelo Wright, told the Star Tribune nothing has been ruled out, though.

"We'll weigh all our options and we'll make whatever the most effective decision is to keep him playing," Wright said.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
In this story: Kevin Williams, Pat Williams