Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Williams Wall makes it to Week 1
Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
You might have heard by now that the Williams Wall will stand Sunday in Cleveland. Although there has been no movement on the legal side of things, the NFL has decided not to enforce this week the four-game suspensions of Minnesota defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. That will remain the case even if, sometime over the next three days, the U.S. Court of Appeals disallows the players’ bid to move their lawsuit to Minnesota state court.
I’m sure there are a number of reasons for this approach, including the unpredictable timing of the court’s decision -- which is expected this week but not guaranteed. In addition, NFL players typically are paid their game check if they’re on active NFL roster by the end of business Tuesday. But NFL suspensions are unpaid, which is why we almost always know at the beginning of a practice week if a suspension is about to be enforced.
So here’s an educated guess: If and when a ruling comes down that paves the way for the NFL to suspend both players, the league will enforce the penalties on the closest Tuesday in the future. That means the first game the players could possibly miss is the Vikings’ Sept. 20 game at Detroit.
It won’t necessarily come to that, however. If the players are on the losing end of the appeals court ruling, they could take the case higher in the legal system and ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. All that would do is further complicate and delay, which I understand is the favored strategy of any attorney on hourly fees.
But let’s take it one week at a time. This week, nothing will change.