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Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Understanding today's Williams Wall ruling

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

I'll do my best to distill the latest legal turn in Minnesota's Williams Wall case.

 K. Williams
 P. Williams

As you might recall, the lawsuit of Kevin Williams and Pat Williams has been sidetracked by the question of whether it belongs in state or federal court.

The players want it to be heard in state court, where they would claim the NFL's steroid testing policy violated Minnesota labor laws.

The NFL -- along with the rest of this country's professional sports leagues -- believe federal laws take priority.

A federal judge in Minnesota already has ruled that the case could be heard in state court, but the NFL appealed. Wednesday, a Minnesota judge delayed the state case until the NFL's appeal can be heard Aug. 18 in St. Paul. A ruling is expected before the regular season begins.

If the U.S. Court of Appeals upholds the decision to allow a lawsuit in state court, the state trial won't occur until after the 2009 season, according to Rochelle Olson of the Star Tribune. Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson ensured that in a court order Wednesday.

But if the appeals court overturns that decision and prevents the case from going to state court, the players could be suspended for the first four games of the season. To maintain their eligibility, writes Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, they might have to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hopefully that makes some sense. See you on Aug. 18.