Game Over for Ezekiel Elliott; Appeal at Second Circuit Dropped
Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott has accepted his six-game suspension and withdrawn his appeal at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, ending the battle that started in July 2016, when Elliott’s ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence. After a year-long investigation, his suspension was announced August 11, 2017. Elliott fought the suspension through three different courts, and got three reprieves that kept him on the field for the first half of the season.
He will sit out the next five games, and is set to return for the Cowboys’ final two games of the regular season. The Second Circuit had, last week, denied the NFL Players Association’s request to block Elliott’s six-game suspension while his appeal pended, forcing Elliott to start serving the ban and to sit out last Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. Elliott had a hearing for last-ditch Hail Mary injunction scheduled for December 1, but he would have missed four games already by the time of that hearing. Had Elliott not prevailed in that hearing, he could have tried for a last shot at the U.S. Supreme Court.
His decision to finally accept the suspension came from a “practical assessment of the current legal landscape” his agents explained, and “Elliott’s desire for closure.” “This decision is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing, and Mr. Elliott is pleased that the legal fight mounted by he and his team resulted in disclosing many hidden truths regarding this matter, as well [as] publicly exposing the NFL’s mismanagement of its disciplinary process,” said a statement released by Elliott’s agent, Rocky Arceneaux, and his attorney, Frank Salzano.
The NFLPA also issued a statement, saying “our vigilant fight on behalf of Ezekiel once again exposed the NFL’s disciplinary process as a sham and a lie. They hired several former federal prosecutors, brought in ‘experts’ and imposed a process with the stated goal of ‘getting it right,’ yet the management council refuses to step in and stop repeated manipulation of an already awful League-imposed system.”
The NFL contended all along that the league followed federal law as it relates to labor agreements and the commissioner’s power to discipline players. The NFL is mandating Elliott undergo a clinical evaluation as part of his suspension and then counseling or treatment, if recommended.