Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott got a reprieve on Tuesday night as he and his attorney are still fighting for him to avoid his six-game suspension he received in late August. The league’s suspension has been blocked by a temporary restraining order issued by a New York federal judge, which means that Elliott is allowed to play.
A federal appeals court overturned a Texas court’s injunction which kept Elliott on the field, whereas US district Judge Pau Crotty’s ruling came five days after that. The next step in the process is to explain to the presiding judge Katherine Polk Failla the reason why a preliminary injunction should not block the suspension. After that, the court should be able to rule on challenges the players’ union brought against the suspension.
The NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said: “We are confident our arguments will prevail in court when they are taken up again later this month.”
On Thursday, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans decided to suspend Elliott, who was placed on the suspended list on Friday. He wasn’t allowed to practice with the team on Tuesday as the Cowboys players gathered after the bye-week.
The league’s Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Zeke in late August after the time-consuming and exhausting investigation which lasted for the entire year. Elliott was said to be involved in several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with his ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson.
The prosecutors decided not to pursue the case in Ohio since Elliott was a star at Ohio State, but despite that, the NFL ran its own investigation. During his NFL appeal, while he was under oath, Elliott denied the allegations.
After the suspension announcement by Commissioner Goodell and the weeks of court filings, crucial evidence was withheld from Goodell, according to the NFLPA. Moreover, Goodell and Thompson weren’t called to be witnesses by the arbitrator Harold Henderson, which was considered to be unfair.
Meanwhile, Crotty agreed with the Texas judge that Henderson’s unwillingness and denial to invite Goodell and Thompson as witnesses was a significant mishap in the case. He wrote: “In effect, (Elliott) was deprived of opportunities to explore pertinent and material evidence, which raises sufficiently serious questions.”
On the other hand, attorney Daniel Nash was dissatisfied with the fact that Elliott’s legal team sought relief from courts in Texas instead of New York. He told Crotty that if they were to allow the union to continue delaying the suspension, “every player who’s suspended” will seek relief from the court. He said: “They know under the Brady decision they have no chance of success. None.”
According to attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who represents the NFLPA, they are going to harm Ezekiel Elliott’s career with this suspension, and he said: “He can never get that back.” He defended Zeke by saying that the harm the player faces for being suspended is much higher than the one league has to meet when the suspension is delayed. Crotty agreed with this statement.
The Texas court got the order to dismiss Elliott’s lawsuit, and Judge Amos Mazzant did that on Tuesday. After that, the case has been transferred to New York. In the meantime, three judges in New Orleans voted 2-1 last week that the Texas lawsuit was filed prematurely by the running back’s attorney because Henderson still hasn’t decided on Elliott’s NFL appeal.
The legal team which represented Elliott requested the rehearing before a larger panel of the appeals court, while they were also active in the Southern District of New York where they filed for the restraining order. The league filed in New York court after the denial of Elliott’s appeal since the city is the headquarters of the NFL, plus it was the place of the hearings before Henderson.