Saints' Nesbit sues supplement maker after serving suspension
METAIRIE, La. -- Saints offensive guard Jamar Nesbit filed suit Tuesday against the maker of a weight-loss supplement, alleging it was improperly spiked with a diuretic that is banned by the NFL.
The lawsuit against the makers of StarCaps, an over-the-counter product, was filed in federal district court in New Jersey, said Nesbit's attorney Brian Molloy.
Nesbit returned last week from a four-game suspension levied after he tested positive for Bumetanide, a substance that helps rid the body of excess water and salt. The NFL considers the substance a possible masking agent for steroids.
It is the same substance for which several other players around the league have reportedly tested positive, including three other Saints: running back Deuce McAllister and defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant.
McAllister, Smith and Grant remain on the Saints roster pending a consolidated appeal of their suspensions, said a person familiar with their case. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the appeals are ongoing.
Nesbit never appealed his suspension because he did not expect to win, and instead chose get it over with as soon as possible while trying to recoup his $235,294 in lost salary from StarCaps, Molloy said.
"Under NFL rules, you are strictly liable for what is in your body. They don't care how it got there, contaminated supplements or otherwise," said Molloy, who has represented other players in past appeals of NFL suspensions for banned substances. "So he did not appeal his suspension and focused his attention on going after the manufacturer of StarCaps."
In addition to lost salary, the lawsuit seeks money for damage to Nesbit's reputation and for the alleged intentional, undisclosed spiking of the product with Bumetanide.
Molloy said some of Nesbit's leftover pills were tested and found to be contaminated with Bumetanide, which is not listed as an ingredient.
StarCaps did not immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment on the allegations.
McAllister, who publicly acknowledged he was being investigated by the league after the Saints' 37-32 victory over San Diego on Sunday, has said his positive test for Bumetanide also resulted from his use of StarCaps. He said he has been using the product to help him control his weight for four years and had the pills lab-tested before he began taking them.
Nesbit's lawsuit was filed the day after the Saints flew home from London, where they improved to 4-4 by beating the Chargers.
The Saints and the NFL have declined to discuss the investigations of individual players' alleged use of banned substances, citing confidentiality rules.
However, coach Sean Payton indicated he did not expect to learn of any new suspensions of Saints players before New Orleans' next game at Atlanta on Nov. 9.
"I think we're beyond that right now," Payton said Tuesday at the team's suburban headquarters. "Without commenting on dates or specifics, I'm sure at some point there will be a hearing and there will be a decision made by the league and we'll go from there."
The Saints have a bye this weekend. They are scheduled to practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but the team said players would not be made available to reporters this week.
Payton said he doesn't want to get bogged down in long-term plans for the uncertain remainder of what has already been a topsy-turvy season.
"The only thing I could control is our roster and our team right now," Payton said. "I don't view it as being in limbo. ... We look at our roster week by week and we say, 'Hey, here we go. And let's prepare to win a game with who's up and who's inactive.'
"All the other things will take care of themselves," Payton continued. "We'll let the process take it's course and see where that goes."
Still, Payton conceded it would be a challenge to cope with the losses of three top players at the same time.
"Anytime you lose a guy that's been in your lineup on a regular basis, it's going to be a challenge," Payton said. "I don't want to speculate in that specific case with those three players, but obviously it becomes harder than if they were active. It's like having a rash of injuries all at the same time for four weeks."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press