Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams has ended his legal fight with the NFL over a failed drug test and the league’s plan to suspend him. His friend and teammate Pat Williams, however, has decided to keep going.
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Attorney Peter Ginsberg said Friday that Kevin Williams has had enough of the case, which began in October 2008 when reports emerged that the two Vikings were among a handful of players who tested positive for a banned diuretic in the weight-loss supplement StarCaps.
”He’s just tired of litigation and dealing with these issues and having it hanging over him,” Ginsberg said.
Pat Williams, on principle, is sticking with it.
”He’s offended by the NFL and what it’s tried to do to him. He’s a fighter, and he wants to go out fighting,” Ginsberg said.
The NFL said the two players violated its anti-doping policy and sought to suspend the Williamses for four games.
The suspensions have been on hold while the case has played out in state and federal courts, but Kevin Williams – who is scheduled to make $6 million in 2011 – could now be sidelined for a quarter of the season if the NFL decides to reinstate the punishments.
League spokesman Greg Aiello didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Last month, the Minnesota Court of Appeals denied the players’ request to permanently block the suspensions. Ginsberg has asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review that ruling for Pat Williams and said he hopes for a decision within three months.
The Williamses, who are not related, were not accused of taking steroids. They said they didn’t know StarCaps contained bumetanide, a banned diuretic that can mask the presence of steroids.
Pat Williams, the oldest defensive player in the league last season at 38, finished a three-year contract with the Vikings and will be a free agent whenever the market opens, an uncertainty given the league’s labor situation. Ginsberg said Pat Williams is planning on playing next season, though the Vikings have been vague on whether they’ll attempt to re-sign him.
The case was watched by other major sports leagues – including the MLB, NBA and NHL – which supported the NFL and said their drug-testing programs would be at risk if players were allowed to challenge drug-testing policies in state courts. The NFL has argued its anti-doping policy was a product of its collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union and was governed by federal law.
Saints defensive end Will Smith and former Saints end Charles Grant tested positive for the same substance, but were not involved in the Minnesota lawsuit. The NFL has held off on enforcing their four-game suspensions until the Minnesota case is resolved. Grant is currently a free agent.