On my way into work this morning, I caught a radio segment from ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morningradio show on 1700 The Champ. The discussion was regarding the NFL’s decision to suspend six players for violating the league’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances. The players are each suspended for the rest of the regular season. This news is difficult for some fans in our office, including yours truly, since two of these players are defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings. The fact that the Vikings just took the lead in their division (NFC North) makes the news even more difficult to bear.
However difficult the ruling is for a fan, there are some interesting legal issues to come out of the story:
1) The Williamses plan to file suits in U.S. District Court for injunctive relief, which if granted, would allow them to play through the season and address the issue after the season. Generally, to prevail on a temporary injunction, a petitioner must show: 1) that he or she is likely to succeed on the merits of the case, and 2) that there is no other adequate remedy at law. Whether the Williamses will be able to meet this burden is not clear, but a grant of injunctive relief is rather difficult to obtain.
2) Another remedy for the Williamses includes suing the manufacturer of the weight-loss pills for failure to include on its label the ingredient bumetanide, which is banned by the NFL. To prevail in this lawsuit, a plaintiff would likely need to show that the manufacturer was negligent in its failure to warn consumers about the included ingredients. The case would revolve around whether the Williams’ harm was foreseeable, and whether inclusion of the ingredents would have been a reasonable method to warn the consumer. However, this lawsuit would not help the Vikings win the NFC North and make the playoffs.
Check back for updates on the fate of the Williamses and the Vikings.