The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals made a ruling today that could allow Vikings players Pat and Kevin Williams to play while continuing their legal battle in state court against NFL-issued suspensions. However, it also ruled Saints players Will Smith and Charles Grant along with free agent running back Deuce McAllister can be suspended. All five players were facing suspension for taking a diuretic that contained a banned ingredient that could be used to mask steroid use.
The NFL has yet to publicly determine its course of action as it relates to the ruling and the players’ futures but David Cornwell, the lawyer for the Saints players and McAlister is exploring whether the NFL, possibly through the NFLPA, can suspend one “employer” and not suspend another “employer” when they are supposedly governed by the same rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Should the NFL suspend the Saints players, they could be eligible for discipline after Sunday’s season-opening game against Detroit.
Right now things are in the exploratory phase because nobody knows the NFL’s stance, which is expected to be explained in the near future. Regardless of the league’s position, the legal battles seem far from over.