NFL moving quickly to reverse halt on Elliott’s six-game ban
The NFL is moving quickly in hopes of reversing a federal judge’s decision that blocked the league’s six-game suspension of Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott over a domestic violence case in Ohio.
The league on Monday asked the judge who ruled in Elliott’s favour to stop the preliminary injunction that cleared last year’s NFL rushing leader to play while the case is in court. A notice of appeal was also filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The NFL’s latest filings came about 12 hours after Elliott rushed for 104 yards in the Cowboys’ 19-3 win over the New York Giants at home Sunday night.
“Just relieved from the fact that I finally get a fair trial,” Elliott said after the game in his first public comments since before the Cowboys reported for training camp in July. “I finally get a chance to prove my innocence. And I’m just happy I’m able to be with these guys for as long as it’s permitted and just not having to miss time and not being away from them.”
The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell last month, and attorneys with the NFL Players’ Association contended that Elliott didn’t get New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr., left, and Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott greet each other at midfield after a game in Arlington, Texas.
a fair hearing in an appeal that was denied. Elliott had already been cleared to play in the season opener when U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant granted a temporary restraining order and injunction blocking the suspension Friday.
The case could play out for months.
New England quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension over “Deflategate” was delayed by a year when a federal judge ruled in his favour. Brady served the suspension to start last season after an appeals court reversed the ruling and backed Goodell’s authority to suspend him.
If Mazzant denies the emergency
request to put his own ruling on hold pending further hearings, the NFL could make a similar argument to the appeals court in hopes of getting a hearing within days.
Without an NFL win on an emergency request in either court, the timeline could mean that Elliott is clear to play his entire second season after he led the league in rushing as a rookie.
“It may be difficult for the NFL to convince the 5th Circuit that this is truly an emergency,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane University Law School. “The argument here is that the NFL could later enforce the suspension.”