Ezekiel Elliott seeks restraining order in NY; NFL insists Zeke remains suspended
Hearing scheduled for Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York
The NFL Players Association went to federal court in New York on Monday on behalf of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, seeking a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction that would put Elliott's suspension on hold and allow him back on the field.
Elliott sued the NFL on Sept. 1 in the Eastern District of Texas and the league filed a lawsuit of its own against Elliott five days later in the Southern District of New York. That's where Elliott's legal team was Monday, to answer the NFL complaint and file a motion seeking the restraining order, a copy of which was obtained exclusively by CBS Sports Radio legal analyst Amy Dash.
"In addition to the restraining order to stop the suspension, the NFLPA is also asking the New York court to vacate the decision by NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson, which would do away with the suspension altogether," Dash said.
In court documents, the NFLPA says that the NFL has informed the team that Elliott will not be permitted to participate in practice Tuesday and cannot play in Sunday's game. The NFL's decision will stand unless the players association can get an injunction by 4 p.m. Tuesday, before rosters are set. Elliott's representatives asked for the restraining order to be put in place before that 4 p.m. deadline.
"The NFL follows a procedure in which it requires teams to set final rosters (listing active player employees) for that week's game at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, so for this week's game, on Tuesday October 17," the union wrote. "Thus, the NFLPA respectfully requests an immediate order from the Court enjoining any suspension until such time as this Court or the Texas district court, depending upon the outcome of further proceedings, renders a final decision on the NFLPA's vacatur claim (in Texas) or counterclaim (in New York)."
The Cowboys play the 49ers in San Francisco on Sunday.
After Elliott had previously been granted an injunction by a Texas court to put a hold on the suspension, the NFL won a 2-1 legal victory in front of a three-judge panel in the Fifth Circuit to vacate the injunction and the league announced Elliott's suspension was reinstated. The NFLPA has asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals toin front of the entire panel of appellate judges. That decision could come any day. Meanwhile, the NFL stands by its statement that the suspension will stand.
"The suspension is in place. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not accurate," spokesman Joe Lockhart said.
Because the Texas case is now in limbo, the NFLPA said in court papers it has no choice but to request a restraining order in New York to allow for Elliott to play Sunday. According to Dash, a hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday in New York.
"A request for an emergency restraining order can be granted on the same day as the hearing, so it's very possible that by the end of this week Elliott's suspension could be back on hold again if the NFLPA wins," Dash said. "But now we have two lawsuits going on at the same time in two states. The district court in Texas has not dismissed the case to New York yet, so it's possible the New York judge refuses to give a restraining order until the Fifth Circuit issues its decision. That would mean Elliott would be suspended for Sunday. So it's anybody's game."
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