Judge re­in­states 6-game sus­pen­sion for Cow­boys’ El­liott

Imperial Valley Press - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK (AP) — A fed­eral judge cleared the way Mon­day night for the NFL to en­force a six-game sus­pen­sion of Dal­las Cow- boys run­ning back Ezekiel El­liott over do­mes­tic vi­o­lence al­le­ga­tions.

U.S. District Judge Kather­ine Polk Failla de­nied the re­quest for a pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion from play­ers’ union at­tor­neys work­ing for El­liott. Failla put the rul­ing on hold for 24 hours to give El­liott’s le­gal team time to ap­peal, a likely move. It’s the sec­ond time a fed­eral rul­ing has over- turned a re­prieve that kept El­liott on the field. Earli- er this month, a fed­eral ap­peals court threw out a Texas court’s in­junc­tion and or­dered the dis­missal of El­liott’s law­suit there.

The NFL briefly en­forced Com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell’s sus­pen­sion be­fore a judge sit­ting in for Failla in the South­ern District of New York is­sued a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der that blocked the pun­ish­ment for the sec­ond time. If the sus­pen­sion holds this time, El­liott will be out start­ing Sun­day at home against Kan­sas City. He will be el­i­gi­ble to re­turn Dec. 17 at Oakland. El­liott at­tended the roughly two-hour hear­ing in New York on Mon­day, a day af­ter rush­ing for 150 yards and two touch­downs in the Cow­boys’ 3319 win at Wash­ing­ton.

He left court with­out speak­ing to re­porters.

The 22-year-old El­liott was sus­pended in Au­gust af­ter the league con­cluded fol­low­ing a year­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion that he had sev­eral phys­i­cal con­fronta­tions in the sum­mer of 2016 with Tif­fany Thomp­son, his girl­friend at the time.

Pros­e­cu­tors in Columbus, Ohio, de­cided not to pur­sue the case in the city where El­liott starred for Ohio State, cit­ing con­flict­ing ev­i­dence. El­liott de­nied the al­le­ga­tions un­der oath dur­ing his NFL ap­peal.

A lawyer for the NFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Jef­frey Kessler, ar­gued that the process Good­ell used to de­ter­mine the pun­ish­ment against El­liott was “fun­da­men­tally un­fair” be­cause it down­played the con­clu­sion by an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tor that Thomp­son wasn’t cred­i­ble in her ac­count of the 2016 vi­o­lence.

The doubts “were kept from the union, the Cow­boys, the player and, we be­lieve, Mr. Good­ell,” Kessler said.

At one point, the judge asked NFL at­tor­ney Paul Cle­ment, “Why it was OK that the com­mis­sioner was not told that (the in­ves­ti­ga­tor) had con­cerns?” Cle­ment re­sponded that a re­port given to Good­ell be­fore he made his de­ci­sion made clear that the ac­cuser was a flawed wit­ness, but that he re­lied on pho­tos of her bruised body and other cor­rob­o­rat­ing ev­i­dence to make his de­ci­sion.

Though crim­i­nal au­thor­i­ties de­clined to bring charges in the case, the league has an obli­ga­tion to com­bat do­mes­tic abuse un­der its la­bor agree­ment, he said.

AP PHOTO/PA­TRICK SEMANSKY

Dal­las Cow­boys run­ning back Ezekiel El­liott cel­e­brates his touch­down dur­ing the first half of an NFL foot­ball game against the Wash­ing­ton Red­skinsin Lan­dover, Md., on Sun­day.

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