NFL Fires Back at Ezekiel Elliott’s Six-Game Suspension
The NFL moved as quick off the field as the tailback they are trying to suspend runs on it, asking the judge who granted a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction for the NFL’s six-game suspension of Cowboy’s Ezekiel Elliott on Monday to reverse his ruling.
They also petitioned the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to strike down the decision that will allow the 22 year old to play while the case works its way through the court system.
Commissioner Roger Goodell banned the second-year player for an alleged domestic violence on an ex-girlfriend after a yearlong investigation. Elliott had already been permitted to play at AT&T Stadium for the first game of the season. He rushed for 104 yards Sunday night as Dallas defeated the New York Giants, 19-3.
Afterward he was asked about the case and he provided his first comment since before the start of training camp in July.
“Just relieved from the fact that I finally get a fair trial,” he said. “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.”
Case Could Drag On
He was allowed to play in Week One and then got the favorable judgment on Friday by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III, who did request the NFL Players Association to file a response to the league’s request by Wednesday evening. He the directed the NFL to submit a rebuttal by Friday night.
If Mazzant or the Fifth Circuit of Appeals sides with the professional football organization the former Ohio State star could be sidelined immediately.
If neither agrees with the NFL then he will probably play the entire season as the case will play out in court. The organization could attempt to speed up the process and request an expedited hearing of the appeal.
Sportsbook operators believe the Cowboys are a legitimate Super Bowl contender and the running back is a key to their success. Before the season began they were the second choice at 10-1, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers. When the suspension was announced they dropped to 12-1.
Duplicating Strategy in Brady Case
The tactics used by both sides are similar to what happened in 2015 in the infamous Deflategate case against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The NFL believed the future Hall of Famer was deflating game balls and suspended him for four games.
Brady’s lawyers won in district court and he was allowed to play the entire year. The case was then overturned by a higher court in 2016 and he was forced to serve his punishment at the beginning of the 2016 season.
The ban didn’t affect the team too much. They went on to win the Super Bowl.
Elliott is hoping he is exonerated and won’t have to sit out any games, but admitted the ordeal has been difficult.
“I’ve kind of stopped worrying about it because it’s not in my hands,” he said. “It’s definitely been a tough last 14 months. At times it’s gotten so hard you start to lose faith.”
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