The NFL is pulling new tools out of its arsenal in the Zeke Elliott suspension case. Since Roger Goodell unilaterally handed down a 6-game suspension to the league’s reigning rushing champ and Cowboy talisman, the NFL and its enemies (Zeke Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and the NFL Players Association) have been doing a dangerous do-si-do.
Last week, a Texas court granted Zeke Elliott an injunction that blocked the NFL from imposing the ban, thus allowing Zeke to play Week 1 and for the foreseeable future. The league, displeased that a low level federal judge blocked its arbitrary suspension of one if its marquee payers, threatened to take the matter directly to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans if U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant didn’t rule on the NFL’s request for a stay of the injunction (basically an appeal of Elliott’s appeal) by Thursday.
In essence, the NFL told a federal judge “rule on this quick or we’re going over your head.”
But the NFL is going over Mazzant’s head anyway if he declines to grant the league a stay of the injunction he just granted Elliott last week.
“If this court declines to grant relief, respondents intend to seek a stay from the Court of Appeals and believe it is important to give the Court of Appeals the opportunity to act promptly.”
Statement from NFL attorneys
The whole situation stems from a series of alleged physical confrontations between Elliott and ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson that occurred last summer in Ohio. Prosecutors in Ohio decided not to press charges (Elliott did play his college ball at Ohio State; there’s a lot of overlap between Buckeyes boosters and the people who donate to political campaigns and police unions).
Elliott, the Cowboys, Jerry Jones; all of the attorneys on Team Elliott are arguing that if the actual police declined to press charges, who is the NFL to supercede the rule of law, launch their own investigation that produces different results than the actual POLICE investigation, and then act on those findings.
The NFL, meanwhile, maintains that they reached came to their decision based on a year-long inquiry, pictures, texts, and other electronic evidence.
In any case, it appears Zeke will play Week 2, but beyond that is anyone’s guess.