Goodell will ask for labor law changes

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell plans to ask Congress for legislation that would protect collective bargaining agreements from state law challenges, such as the one that led to blocking the suspensions of two players who tested positive for banned substances.

“We believe that a specific and tailored amendment to the Labor Management Relations Act is appropriate and necessary to protect collectively bargained steroid policies from attack under state law,” Goodell said in prepared testimony for a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing today in Washington. He said that recent court decisions “call into question the continued viability of the steroid policies of the NFL and other national sports organizations.”

A copy of Goodell’s testimony was obtained by The Associated Press.

The NFL had attempted to suspend Minnesota Vikings Pat Williams and Kevin Williams for four games, but the players sued the league in state court, arguing that the league’s testing violated Minnesota laws.

The case was moved to federal court, and the NFL players union filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of the Williamses and New Orleans Saints players who were also suspended.

In May, a federal judge dismissed the union’s lawsuit and several claims in the Williamses’ case – but sent two claims involving Minnesota workplace laws back to state court. A judge there issued an injunction prohibiting the NFL from suspending the players and has scheduled the trial for March 8. In September, a federal appeals court panel agreed with those decisions, essentially allowing the Williamses to continue playing while the case proceeds in state court.

Evaluating Cable charges

The Oakland Raiders say they will undertake a “serious evaluation” of domestic violence allegations against coach Tom Cable.

In a statement released Monday, the team says it does not condone the alleged attacks by Cable against his first wife and his former girlfriend. The team also notes it has fired employees for misconduct in the past.

Extra points

The Chiefs, apparently fearful of losing in arbitration, agreed Monday to cut Larry Johnson’s suspension in half for making gay slurs. … Brett Favre’s return to Green Bay was must-see viewing. Fox’s national game was the network’s second-most-watched Sunday telecast since it started airing the NFL in 1994, with 29.8 million viewers. The record was 32.1 million for 49ers-Cowboys in 1995. … After denying general manager George Kokinis had been fired, the team issued an awkwardly worded statement, saying Kokinis “is no longer actively involved with the organization.”