A federal appeals court allowed other major sports to weigh in Wednesday on the NFL’s attempts to suspend two Minnesota Vikings for violating the league’s anti-doping policy.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in Minneapolis accepted a joint brief from Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL, as well as a similar brief from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which administers drug testing for U.S. Olympic teams.
The leagues and independent agency asked the appeals court to rule that the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement trumps the state laws that defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are using to fight their four-game suspensions. They wrote it would be impossible otherwise to enforce uniform standards for eliminating performance-enhancing drugs from sports.
The NFL seeks to discipline the players – defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Pat Williams – because they tested positive last summer for the diuretic bumetanide, which is banned from sports because it can mask the presence of steroids. It was an unlisted ingredient in the weight-loss supplement StarCaps, which they acknowledge taking. Court proceedings in the complex web of cases involving StarCaps have established that the NFL knew the supplement contained the banned substance but never shared that information with players.
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The Williamses, who are not related, are not accused of using steroids, but the NFL says players are responsible for knowing what they’re taking.
The league wants to impose the suspensions at the start of the regular season, and the 8th Circuit on Wednesday scheduled oral arguments for Aug. 18 to put itself in a position to rule by then.
McNair provided for family
Though he left no will, Steve McNair’s entire immediate family has been provided for under instructions the slain former NFL quarterback left before his death, his agent said Wednesday.
McNair’s wife, Mechelle, is not trying to exclude McNair’s mother and two children he had with other women, his agent, James “Bus” Cook, said.
“He has taken very good care of all of the children, his wife and his mother,” Cook said in a phone interview from Hattiesburg, Miss. “Every player — every person — I know would do well to provide for their family like he has. So everybody’s going to be fine, everything’s going to be good, and there’s no disagreements between anybody.”
McNair had two children — Steven L. McNair Jr. and Steven O’Brian Koran McNair — before marrying Mechelle McNair. The couple also had two children — Tyler James McNair and Trenton Jon McNair.
Burress meets grand jury
Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress testified Wednesday before the New York grand jury that is investigating weapons charges against him and told reporters outside that he was sorry for his actions.
“I was truthful, I was honest, and I’m truly remorseful for what I’ve done and for what happened,” Burress said outside a Manhattan courthouse.
The 31-year-old Burress shot himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub in November. He was charged with weapon possession and faces up to 31/2 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $100,000 bail. The Giants released him in April.
Buffalo signed its first-round draft pick, offensive lineman Eric Wood, and second-rounder, safety Jairus Byrd, leaving the team with only its top prospect, defensive end Aaron Maybin, still unsigned five days into training camp. … Cincinnati signed second-round draft choice Rey Maualuga, a linebacker from Southern California. … Ex-Jacksonville receiver Jimmy Smith pleaded no contest to three charges stemming from a drunken driving arrest. He was sentenced to 12 months of probation, ordered to serve 50 hours of community service and fined $1,100. … San Francisco placed starting cornerback Walt Harris on injured reserve while he recovers from right knee surgery. … Green Bay safety Nick Collins won’t be a training camp holdout, although he remains unhappy with his contract. … Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess and first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey, a wide receiver, were no-shows as Oakland opened training camp in Napa, Calif. … St. Louis has signed second-round draft pick James Laurinaitis, the All-America linebacker from Ohio State. … Quarterback Michael Vick has been conditionally reinstated to the NFL, but Redskins coach Jim Zorn has rule him out “at this juncture” from joining his team. … Tennessee has agreed to contract terms with its second-round draft pick, defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks. … Minnesota signed second-round draft pick Phil Loadholt, an offensive lineman from Oklahoma. … Prosecutors in Miami have dropped felony charges against Dolphins defensive end Randy Starks stemming from a May traffic altercation with police.