St. Louis Rams  

 

Rams LB Vobora wins drug suit, wants NFL to exonerate him

Rams linebacker David Vobora, following a record $5.4 million award from a federal judge for unknowingly using a tainted supplement, is seeking to have his four-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy expunged from his record, according to his agent, Marc Lillibridge.

Lillibridge and Vobora testified in the case, and Lillibridge was a part of the legal team that came up with the $5.4 million damages figure. Vobora sued Anti-Steroid Program, LLC, after being suspended for four games in 2009 for using a product from the company that was endorsed by players like Ray Lewis and was not on the league's list of banned substances, but turned out to be contaminated.

"Today is a celebration," Vobora said Monday. "Today, I've been proven innocent."

His lawsuit accused the company of intentionally misleading him and hurting his image in addition to lost income. The judge's order includes $2 million for damaging Vobora's reputation and another $3 million in lost "future income."

Vobora also lost $90,588 in game checks, plus the court ruled he lost $170,000 in performance bonuses and $100,000 in marketing endorsements.

"The issue has always been clearing his name," said R. Dan Fleck of Jackson, Wyo., one of Vobora's attorneys. "He didn't cheat. He didn't try to cheat."

Vobora said the Rams were very supportive, but that the emotional toll elsewhere was heavy, "from extreme threats to fan mail talking about hoping I never play another snap in the NFL. Hearing that I'm a disgrace, having to deal with that daily.

"To really get the ship righted, that's vindication."

Now, after the victory in court, Lillibridge said he hopes to meet with various league officials after the lockout to get his client's name cleared within the NFL as well.

"David shouldn't be looked at as an offender and that suspension should be revoked," Lillibridge said. "He should not be a part of the league's (drug) program."

Lillibridge said he wanted to speak to figures like Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ray Anderson, who plays a key role in discipline matters, and Adolpho Birch, the league's drug czar, about changing Vobora's status in the program and also possibly making changes to the drug policy as well.

"We went through the appeal process (with the NFL) and lost," Lillibridge said, "but it's my responsibility to help my client as much as I can and continue to pursue this with the league.

"Maybe some positive changes to the drug policy can come from this. This is first time an NFL player won a case against a supplement company like this."

Vobora tested positive for methyltestosterone after using a product made by the company. He was the last pick of the 2008 draft but has developed into a starter for the Rams.

"The money is really secondary in all of this," Lillibridge said. "David wanted to get vindication in court and to restore his name."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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