U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla denied Ezekiel Elliott's request for a preliminary injunction Monday night, allowing the six-game suspension the NFL handed the running back for violating the league's personal conduct policy to begin.
However, enforcement of the order is stayed for 24 hours, "to afford the parties an opportunity to consider their appellate options." The next move in this case is likely an NFL Players Association appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which has jurisdiction over appeals from the district courts in Connecticut, Vermont and New York. (Elliott and the NFLPA are unlikely to win a ruling in the Second Circuit, which counts the Tom Brady appeal as controlling precedent.)
Judge dissolves temporary restraining order and denies Elliott's motion. He is suspended.— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) October 31, 2017
Judge: the Court concludes that NFLPA failed to demonstrate a substantial question warranting the extraordinary remedy of injunctive relief— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) October 31, 2017
Judge: the proceedings in their totality accorded with the CBA & the personal conduct policy — and..with precepts of fundamental fairness.— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) October 31, 2017
Judge says Elliott had ample opportunity to challenge Commissioner Goodell's findings in arbitration hearing.— Kate Hairopoulos (@khairopoulos) October 31, 2017
Elliott will now miss the Cowboys' games against the Chiefs, Falcons, Eagles, Chargers, Washington and the Giants. He would be eligible to return on Dec. 17 for the Cowboys' Week 15 game against the Raiders, pending an appeal. However, because his request for an injunction was denied, the suspension begins immediately and he cannot practice with the team or play in games unless the Second Circuit reverses course on this ruling.
This is obviously bad news for the Cowboys -- and Zeke owners in Fantasy. Our own Heath Cummings says there is no sugarcoating the fact that Elliott, as it stands right now, will be out for the remainder of the Fantasy regular season, as well as Week 14, the first week of the Fantasy playoffs in many leagues. He offers.
Judge Failla asked pointed questions of both sides throughout the hearing, focusing on the lack of evidence of a "conspiracy" against Elliott, which the NFLPA alleged in its initial filings; the idea of irreparable harm to Elliott if he were to be suspended; and the NFL's barring the testimony of lead investigator Kia Roberts, who said she did not find Elliott's accuser credible and would not have recommended a suspension.
"I'm trying to understand what this conspiracy entails," Judge Failla presses Kessler on assertion that case against Zeke is a conspiracy— Pete Brush (@PeteBrush) October 30, 2017
You don't have to find a conspiracy, Kessler says. I'm not sure I can, Failla says. She is not impressed with the Zeke conspiracy allegation— Pete Brush (@PeteBrush) October 30, 2017
Judge Failla unimpressed by notion that Zeke's ex should have been made to testify. Says no rule of evidence to that effect in arbitration— Pete Brush (@PeteBrush) October 30, 2017
Paul Clement is up for NFL. Starts by arguing that Zeke suspension like all others under CBA. Says irreparable harm concern doesn't apply— Pete Brush (@PeteBrush) October 30, 2017
Judge Failla notes courts have deemed suspensions to be irreparable harm. Clement agrees, but says NFL interest in discipline outweighs that— Pete Brush (@PeteBrush) October 30, 2017
Judge Failla pressing NFL about investigator's credibility concerns re Zeke's accuser. Clement says concerns were laid out in arbitration— Pete Brush (@PeteBrush) October 30, 2017
Judge Failla calls NFL investigator Kia Roberts a "key witness" and wonders if her recommendations should have been given more weight— Pete Brush (@PeteBrush) October 30, 2017
It appears she found the NFL's arguments more credible, and thus allowed the suspension, which was initially. In particular, Judge Failla said that the NFL obtaining the "benefit of its bargain" under the CBA outweighed any harm that would be suffered by Elliott were he to be suspended.
The decision is also bad news for players that might be suspended in the future, just as was the case when the Brady appeal reached its ultimate conclusion.
Judge's opinion allows arbitrator enormous discretion in what evidence to admit - huge loss for future players facing discipline— Amy Dash (@AmyDashTV) October 31, 2017
Elliott appealed his initial suspension prior to the start of the season, but it was upheld by the designated arbitrator, Harold Henderson, who was appointed by Roger Goodell. Henderson did not require Elliott's accuser to testify at the appeal hearing, nor did he require Goodell to testify. He also did not require the NFLPA be given access to investigators' notes. Elliott appealed that arbitration award and was allowed to play in Week 1 when he won a.
At the time, it seemed like he'd be able to play the entire season while the matter was sorted out in court. But the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appealson Oct. 12. In response, Elliott filed another request for a temporary restraining order, which . That TRO allowed Elliott to play in the Cowboys' past two games while the court waited for Judge Faillo, who had been assigned the case, to return from a scheduled vacation.