September 2, 2011

Starcaps: Players suspended two games, fined two more

The players involved in the Starcaps scandal have been suspended half their original punishments levied.  The strange saga of one of sports' more bizarre banned substances cases appears to be at an end, finally.

Saints DE Will Smith, Vikings DT Kevin Williams, former Saints DE Charles Grant and RB Deuce McAllister, former Texans LS Bryan Pittman and former Vikings DT Pat Williams were initially suspended for four games in 2008 because ingredients in the diuretic supplement Starcaps' were found in their drug tests.

Smith and the others have been suspended without pay for the first two games of the season, and fined an additional two games.  The suspension begins on tomorrow, September 3, and is lifted on September 19.

The NFL had approved Starcaps for use, and a civil suit sued to block the NFL from suspending players.  The players' representation alleged that the NFL had proof that Starcaps would result in positive drug tests, but did not advise the NFLPA.

Though the suit was filed in Minnesota based on Minnesota law, the NFL decided that all players would be punished the same in this case, thus delaying the looming suspensions of Smith and then-Saints DE Charles Grant and RB Deuce McAllister, both of whom are now out of the league.  The NFL won a battle in that pending case, clearing the way for the suspensions to be enforce in the 2011 season.

The NFL has maintained all along that the players involved in the case would be fairly disciplined similarly.

Former Saints G Jamar Nesbit was also suspended, but did not initially appeal the suspension, instead serving it during the 2008 season.  Then-rookie Carl Nicks stepped in on Nesbit's job, and never gave it back.

The news of Smith's suspension may trigger the re-signing of veteran DE Alex Brown, who started in 2010 but was cut earlier this week.

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