Update on the StarCaps Case in the NFL


From SI.com’s Peter King:

I detail a little later the value of defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams to the Vikings and how much Minnesota would miss them if they were to miss the first four games due to a positive test for taking the diuretic StarCaps last year. Federal district court in Minneapolis upheld the suspensions Thursday, and the Williamses now turn to a lower court in Minnesota for legal redress, claiming the league knew there was a banned substance in the pills and didn’t tell the players union about the tainted stuff.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, echoing the league view obviously, seemed certain in an e-mail to me Saturday that the league won’t lose the appeal. “We believe there are very significant barriers to a successful suit in the Minnesota courts against our collectively bargained program with the NFL Players Association that covers 32 teams and all NFL players,” he wrote. “We are not concerned with the case as it now stands.”

At issue is the core principle of the NFL program — that a player is responsible for what goes in his body, and if anything is ingested that’s on the NFL list of banned substances, regardless of who knew about it and when they knew about it, the positive test is the fault of the player. Pat Williams, though, believes that because league doctor John Lombardo had full knowledge of the banned substance bumetanide in StarCaps, the players will be found innocent.

I feel good about our chances,” he told Howard Balzer and Alex Marvez on Sirius NFL Radio on Saturday. “It’s in God’s hands.”

I understand the asterisk here, and I’m sure the NFL and Lombardo will behave differently about tainted-supplement knowledge going forward, but I can’t see the players winning this case.

So how prevalent is the use of StarCaps (and related) in pro sports?

And in case you were curious about the position the makers of StarCaps would take on this issue, here is the lead text on their site:

We’ve received notice of a problem with an NFL player. We have referred the matter to our counsel and are taking all necessary steps to ensure that our customers receive product that is safe and effective. We have temporarily suspended shipping of StarCaps pending the results of our investigation. Thank You.

About the Author

Jason Rosenberg began his blogging career in late 2007 at his own baseball-focused blog, ItsAboutTheMoney, Stupid.