Will the NFL be Able to Enforce Ezekiel Elliott’s Six-Game Suspension this Season?
The battle between the NFL and Dallas Cowboys running back, Ezekiel Elliott, continues. The NFL has now filed an emergency stay demand with the Fifth Circuit to make Elliott serve his six-game domestic violence suspension this season, following a warning the NFL made to Texas Federal Judge Amos Mazzant if he did not rule on the NFL’s stay bid by the end of Thursday. Judge Mazzant put Elliott’s suspension on hold after he found Elliott’s arbitration process was fundamentally unfair.
The league is now arguing that the court does not have jurisdiction since Elliott and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) filed suit before a decision was reached in the arbitration process. The NFL argued that filing before the arbitration decision was “a blatant effort to obtain ‘first-filed’ status in the player’s preferred venue” and “therefore should have been dismissed immediately.”
Elliott was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league concluded he had several physical confrontations with his former girlfriend, violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Nonetheless, prosecutors decided not to pursue the case because of conflicting evidence. Elliott argues that his arbitration process was fundamentally unfair because his former girlfriend was not required to testify or be subject to cross-examination. Elliott and his attorneys argue that the NFL cannot meet the standard for irreparable harm because the league could still suspend Elliott if the NFL wins on appeal. Nevertheless, the league maintains that its conclusions were based on photographs and text messages.
The emergency motion asks the Fifth Circuit to rule on the request to suspend the injunction as early as Tuesday, the start of practice week before the Cowboys’ third game of the season against Arizona. If the ruling is not made by Tuesday, the NFL is asking for a decision by September 26, 2017, the start of practice before the Cowboys’ week four home game against the Los Angeles Rams.