Trial date set for Kevin, Pat Williams
The two Pro Bowl tackles went to federal court and were granted an injunction halting the suspensions in December, allowing them to finish the regular season and participate in the playoffs. They are seeking to have the suspensions overturned, and are asking for $10 million in damages.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson set a June 15 trial date in the case on Tuesday. According to Peter Ginsberg, a New York-based lawyer representing the pair, Magnuson also denied the NFL's motion to delay discovery proceedings pending an appeal and will hear motions in the case on May 14.
Kevin and Pat Williams, who are not related, along with three New Orleans Saints players, were suspended after testing positive for bumetanide, a diuretic contained in the weight-loss supplement StarCaps. Bumetanide is banned because it can be used as a masking agent for steroids.
Bumetanide was not listed as an ingredient on the StarCaps label, and the players' union claims that the NFL did not properly inform players that the banned substance was contained in the supplement.
The NFL has maintained that it rightfully suspended the players under the league's collective bargaining agreement, claiming that StarCaps was listed among products that players were banned from endorsing.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail the league would proceed with discovery yet remained "confident that we will prevail in this case based on the merits of our positions."
In a letter included in the court filings, Kevin and Pat Williams admitted they used StarCaps to help them make a prescribed weight, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Both have a contract clause that pays a $400,000 bonus if they make a certain weight at several points during the season -- but the clause stipulates that the players not undertake any "last-minute weight reduction techniques," which included "use of diuretics."