Per various media reports, the first of the appeal hearings in the StarCaps cases will convene tomorrow in New York.

Players who were taking StarCaps tested positive for Bumetanide, a prescription medication that apparently had been added to the supposedly all-natural StarCaps product like grain alcohol to the punch bowl at a high school dance.  

Saints guard Jamar Nesbit, who opted not to appeal his suspension and already has served it, has sued StarCaps.  More recently, Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson filed a nationwide class action in California.

deuceOn Tuesday, the consolidated appeals of Saints running back Deuce McAllister and defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith will be heard.  On Thursday, the appeals of Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams will proceed.  On Friday, Jackson’s appeal hearing will be conducted.

Look for the arguments to focus on one or more of the following concepts:

star20caps1.  If the manufacturer didn’t know that StarCaps contained Bumetanide, how could such knowledge be imputed to the players who took it?

2.  If all weight-loss substances contain a diuretic and if diuretics can mask steroid use, why are any of them permissible under NFL policies?

3.  The November 2007 study confirming that StarCaps contains Bumetanide was authored by a professor at the University of Utah; Dr. Brian Finkle, the league’s consultant on toxicology, is also a professor at the University of Utah.  Why then didn’t Finkle advise the NFL to advise players that StarCaps contain Bumetanide?

4.  As of January 2009, the World Anti-Doping Agency will not automatically suspend athletes for taking diuretics.  Dr. Finkle is a consultant for WADA.  Which of Finkel’s two clients are mishandling the diuretics issue?

We’ve also caught wind of an intention among the folks handling these appeals to begin using testimony given by the league’s witnesses in one case as fodder for cross-examination in future cases.  The league apparently believes that the confidentiality provision prevents cross-pollination of testimony.  But if a witness can say one thing in one case and something else in a different one, there needs to be a way to hold the witness accountable for inconsistencies in his or her testimony.

On Sunday, Jay Glazer of FOX reported that the NFL will point to memos posted in training rooms warning players about “some diuretics and water pills.”  At this point, however, there is no evidence that players specifically were warned about StarCaps.

Either way, things look to get interesting this week, and beyond.  As Charley Casserly of CBS pointed out on Sunday, the league seems to be intent on getting this matter resolved in time for the suspensions to be served by the end of the year.