Judge holds decision on StarCaps suspensions

A Minnesota judge issued a 44-page ruling Thursday on the case involving the suspensions of Vikings DTs Pat and Kevin Williams but ultimately didn’t decide whether or not their suspensions can be upheld.

A trial on that matter will begin March 8.

The league suspended the Williamses — as well as Saints DEs Will Smith and Charles Grant — for four games after they tested positive for banned substances contained within the StarCaps product. Pat and Kevin Williams appealed the suspensions to a Minnesota state court, where a judge issued a temporary injunction against the league in 2009 to block any suspension from beginning until the case is resolved (the league then allowed Smith and Grant to continue playing out of fairness, as the state labor statute the Williamses appealed to isn’t in effect in Louisiana).

Judge Gary Larson sided with the league on some issues in Thursday’s ruling and with the players on others, regarding the NFL’s compliance with Minnesota’s Drug Testing In The Workplace Act.

The league responded to the rulings as follows:

“Today’s decision, along with the federal court decisions in this case, properly rejected virtually all of the claims asserted against the NFL’s program on performance-enhancing drugs. It further confirmed that the program is operated with integrity and consistent with best scientific practices. We are confident that we will prevail on the remaining two claims.”

If the league prevails in the trial next month, all four players would be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season.

The Saints beat the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game and went on to win Super Bowl XLIV. All four players are key contributors, and these two teams could meet again to open the 2010 season, when the Saints host the first game of the campaign on Thursday, Sept. 9.

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