Suspended Vikings Still, Somehow, In Picture

NFLPA, Minnesota judge get Williams twins back into practice

Earlier this week, when word came down that the Vikings two defensive tackles, Pat and Kevin Williams, were suspended, the main Chicago-relevant reaction was celebration. After all, the Bears need something just short of a miracle to get in the playoffs, and the 7-5 Vikings losing their defensive tackles -- considered the best tackle tandem in the NFL -- is a pretty great start.

Still, it's not over yet. Williams and Williams (which sounds like a family law firm) are the subject of an NFL Players' Association appeal:

In the lawsuit, the NFLPA alleges both the NFL-appointed doctor and the NFL lawyer who administer the league's steroids policy knew the supplement contained the banned drug but never advised the players. It alleges they breached their duty to the players and endangered their physical well-being.

"It's just common sense that someone shouldn't be punished in those circumstances," David Feher, a lawyer for the union, told The Associated Press.

The NFLPA is hoping to get the suspensions rejoined, citing the "irreparable harm" that could be done to Vikings fans if their team loses out on the playoffs without the Williams'. It's a pretty funny lawsuit, but that's how these things work. The NFLPA would have its players' backs regardless of the supposed crime, and rightfully so.

What's not so legally admirable is one Minnesota judge's decision. In order to let the Williams twins practice with the team, Hennepin County Judge Gary Larson issued a temporary restraining order against the NFL, preventing the suspensions from carrying through. We weren't even sure that was allowed, but apparently it is:

Larson acknowledged leaving the case in limbo after he issued his ruling, but he said he is poised to conduct a full hearing as early as today, if that's what the NFL wants. That means Larson could still issue an order before Sunday that would make the Williamses ineligible to play.

Dan Nash, a lawyer for the NFL who is based in Washington, D.C., said he needs to consult with the league.

"I'm not sure what our next step will be," he said, adding that if the NFL doesn't try to move the case to federal court, he will want a hearing today.

We're not sure if district court judges face re-election like other judges, or whether Larson is just a die-hard Vikings fan. Actually, come to think of it, it's probably both. Anyway, that restraining order likely won't stand. The NFLPA, on the other hand ... well, who knows? Either way, these suspensions aren't happening nearly as quickly as most Bears fans might have wished.

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