Cowboys fans, rejoice! A Texas court has ruled that the NFL’s reigning rushing champ, Zeke Elliott, can play Week 1 despite the six-game ban that Roger Goodell handed down for alleged domestic violence.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has been granted a temporary restraining order by a Texas district court, per court docs. He can play.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 8, 2017
Elliott’s suspension is steeped in controversy, given that the evidence is circumstantial, and has pitted one of the league’s most powerful owners in Jerry Jones against commissioner Roger Goodell.
As judge, jury, and executioner, Goodell has the power to mete out justice as he sees fit. That said, suspending the marquee player on the league’s most valuable team (USA Today values the Dallas Cowboys at $4.2 billion dollars) for half a season is not going to sit well with the fans, the team, and chiefly, its owner, who has the resources to litigate this at the highest levels.
Fresh off Tom Brady’s Deflategate saga, which nearly made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court before Robert Kraft realized that an unfavorable ruling could keep Brady out of the playoffs instead of missing the first four games of the season, Goodell has outdone himself this year by putting Zeke Elliott, the Cowboys, and Jerry Jones in his crosshairs.
If there are two owners who curry favor amongst their peers, it’s Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones. An unlikely team, but as the saying goes, an enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Goodell has been an excellent whipping boy for the NFL’s owners for many years now. Any time there’s a scandal, they shove him out in front of the cameras to deal with it; no sweat off their backs. Revenue is at record highs. But he serves at the pleasure of the owners, and like anyone with a boss (or in this case, 32), he can be fired.
The NFL is in a tricky situation. Its players habitually do things that reflect poorly on the league (though most are model citizens, and some, like JJ Watt, are real-life heroes), and the PR crises that ensue threaten to take money out of the owners’ pockets; the only real crime in their eyes.
And by taking aim at Elliott, Goodell has committed a cardinal sin.