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Court denies request for expedited appeal in StarCaps case

When it comes to the popularity of its product, the NFL has had a great year. When it comes to the performance of its lawyers, the NFL has had a crappy year.

Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied a request from the league to expedite the appeal of the NFL’s victory in the StarCaps case.

Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams proved that the league violated Minnesota law by failing to give them timely notice of their positive test results for Bumetanide, the secret, active ingredient in the over-the-counter diet product known as StarCaps. But Judge Gary Larson found that the violation did not justify blocking the four-game suspensions imposed on the players.

That said, Larson ruled that the suspensions should not be imposed until the appeals process expires.

Thus, by refusing the league’s request for an expedited appeal, the players almost certainly will be able to play for all of the 2010 season, especially since another level of appellate review remains available to them.

For Pat Williams, a 37-year-old who has expressed in the past a desire to resolve the case, the ruling could mean that he’ll never be suspended -- he thought about retiring after the 2009 season, and he has said multiple times that he’d like to win a championship and call it quits.

For the league, the setback comes on the heels of a stunning 9-0 ruling by a typically-divided U.S. Supreme Court on the question of whether the NFL constitutes a single entity under antitrust laws, and also only days after the league suffered yet another defeat regarding the interpretation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.