The NFL and Ezekiel Elliott Will Now Duel in New York Federal Court Over His Six-Game Domestic Violence Suspension
The battle between Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott and the NFL continues. Last week the Fifth Circuit cleared the way for the NFL to enforce Elliott’s six-game domestic violence suspension. In the most recent update, the NFL Players Union urged the New York federal judge overseeing the NFL’s adjoining suit to grant it an emergency order blocking his suspension that is set to begin this coming Monday, October 23, 2017. Among its answer and counterclaim in the New York suit, the Players Union seeks an order vacating an arbitrator’s decision to uphold the suspension, and hinted at an upcoming motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The Players Union argued that this is a “deliberate conspiracy” to deprive Elliott of the necessary fairness in his case.
Elliott was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in August after the League concluded that he has several physical confrontations last summer with his former girlfriend. However, prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio decided about a year ago not to pursue the case citing conflicting evidence. The NFL conducted its own investigation, and based its decision on photographs, text messages, and other electronic evidence. The League maintains that it acted within the limits of a labor agreement that gives Goodell the broad discretion to suspend players.
Before an arbitrator reached a decision, the Union filed suit in Texas federal court arguing that Elliott’s arbitration process was fundamentally unfair. And Texas district court judge Amos Mazzant did in fact put Elliott’s suspension on hold finding that Elliott’s arbitration process was fundamentally unfair. This decision was appealed to the Fifth Circuit, and it ruled that the NFL Players Association moved too quickly in filing the case challenging Elliott’s suspension, and because there was no final decision in the arbitration when the Union filed suit Elliott had not yet exhausted the contracted-for remedies, and thus the suspension could be enforced. Once the arbitrator did make a decision, the NFL filed suit in New York federal court for a ruling to enforce the suspension, and that is where the current duel will now take place.