Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Kevin Williams gets two-game suspension

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Vikings defense, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams Updated: September 2, 2011 - 3:31 PM

Finally, the NFL got around to announcing that defensive tackle Kevin Williams will be suspended for two games and fined an additional two game checks. It's not a bad deal for Williams -- except financially, of course -- and the Vikings considering the original suspension from back in 2008 called for four games.

Williams is battling a painful bout of plantar fasciitis in his left foot and will be able to use the suspension to rest up, which might help him in the long run this season.

Williams tested positive for a banned diuretic back in 2008. He fought the case in court before finally giving up the fight earlier this year.

Here's the statement from the league: Kevin Williams of the Minnesota Vikings has been suspended without pay for the team's first two games of the 2011 regular season and fined an additional two game checks for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. Williams' suspension begins on Satuday, Sept. 3. He will be eligible to return to the Vikings' active roster on Monday, Sept. 19 following the team's Sept. 18 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Williams will lose around $1.4 million of his $6 million base pay for the four games. Had he taken the suspension back in 2008, it would have cost him about $235,000 of his $1 million base pay.

Here's a condensed timeline of how the case dragged on:

July 2008: Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams (not related) have routine drug tests before training camp begins. Both players were to receive bonuses for reporting under certain weights, and both later admitted they used a diuretic, StarCaps, to cut weight.

Sept. 2008: The players are informed they will be suspended for four games by the NFL for taking a banned substance, bumetanide. They appeal the suspensions, saying the ingredient was not listed on the StarCaps label.

Dec. 2008: The NFL announces the suspension of the Williamses and four other NFL players without pay for violating the league's anti-steroid policy. A restraining order is issued allowing the Williamses to play, and eventually a U.S. District Judge blocks the NFL from enforcing the suspension until there’s a full hearing.

Feb. 2009: The Williamses file a $10 million lawsuit against the NFL, contending the league was aware StarCaps contained an unlisted banned substance, but didn’t warn players.

Sept. 2009: The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirms earlier rejections of the NFL’s argument that federal courts have jurisdiction over the labor laws that govern its drug-testing program. The case returns to Hennepin County District Court for a trial in the spring of 2010, meaning the Williams play the 2009 season.

March 2010: At a five-day trial in Minneapolis, a key issue is  who employs the players — the NFL or the team. The Williamses claim they are protected by Minnesota state laws, including one that  prohibits employers from imposing discipline based on a single positive test and demands other procedural protections before sanctions are imposed.

May 2010: A judge rules the Williamses can be forced to serve their suspensions even though the NFL violated their rights under state labor laws. They appeal and play the 2010 season.

Feb. 2011: The Minnesota Court of Appeals favors the NFL in its four-game suspension.

March 2011: Kevin Williams opts not to appeal the ruling. Pat Williams files an appeal to the State Supreme Court. before the 30-day deadline, agent Angelo Wright said. The Williamses tested positive for the banned diuretic called StarCaps during training camp of 2008.

Today: Kevin Williams is suspended for two games without pay and will lose his pay for two more games, costing him around $1.4 million.

 

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