Appeals court backs ruling on D.J. Williams suit
A federal appeals court on Monday has ruled against Denver
Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams, who had appealed the dismissal of
his lawsuit seeking to overturn a six-game drug suspension by the
The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals affirmed District Judge Christine Arguello’s dismissal
of the lawsuit for substantially the same reasons she cited.
Arguello in June essentially backed an arbitrator who had upheld
the suspension and rejected arguments that the arbitrator exceeded
his power, engaged in misconduct, disregarded the law, or was
The appeals court ruling repeated Arguello’s reasoning that the
court’s role in such arbitration cases is simply to determine
whether the arbitrator abandoned the collective bargaining
agreement between the league and players union in making a
The NFL had said urine samples Williams provided last year
weren’t from a human. The specimen collector said he had watched
Williams provide the samples, though at times he watched from the
side rather than with a full frontal view, according to court
documents. The collector was later fired.
The arbitrator said it appeared Williams was involved with
substituting a specimen and that circumstantial evidence suggested
it was submitted either with knowledge of the specimen collector or
because of failure to follow protocol.
Williams had argued the NFL violated its own protocol leading up
to Williams’ suspension.
”We are obviously disappointed,” Williams’ attorney Peter
Ginsberg said in an email. ”By its own admission, the NFL failed
to follow the procedures mandated to assure the validity of the
samples. The NFL-designated arbitrator ignored those violations and
the NFL and its arbitrator have now escaped judicial scrutiny. And
D.J. Williams is the victim.”
He didn’t respond to a question asking whether Williams would