Court Handcuffs NFL on Drug Testing
Says players are protected from suspension by state laws
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2009 10:54 AM CDT
Minnesota Vikings defensive tackles Pat Williams (94) and Kevin Williams (93).   (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

(Newser) – A federal court has given the NFL—and, in fact, all sports leagues—a big headache in the effort to crack down on doping, the New York Times reports. A three-judge panel in Minneapolis made it much tougher for the league to suspend players caught using banned substances, ruling that they are protected by state laws just like any other worker. The NFL has limited options in response—its best bet may be to ask Congress to write specific legislation. 

In the particular case in question, two players from the Minnesota Vikings appealed their league suspension. Minnesota, like about half the states, has worker-friendly laws that prohibit an employer from suspending an employee who fails a first drug test, notes the Times. “Why should a football player not have the same rights that a person in Minnesota has?” argued their lawyer.