The Second Circuit Court has issued a ruling on the NFLPA’s appeal on behalf of Ezekiel Elliott. The court ruled in Elliott’s favor. Elliott has been granted an administrative stay and he can play on Sunday, according to gaming and sports attorney Daniel Wallach.
The stay only applies to this week’s game. Elliott can take the field in Week 9, but his status beyond that remains uncertain.
The NFLPA appealed to the Second Circuit after Judge Katherine Polk Failla in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied Elliott an injunction that would allow him to keep playing while his lawsuit against the NFL plays out. The union appealed to Failla, who — as expected — did not overturn her own ruling.
So the union took its case to the Second District, which gave Elliott a temporary stay on Judge Failla’s decision. Elliott’s suspension is off, for now at least.
What led up to this? The NFL issued Elliot a six-game suspension following a year-long investigation into domestic violence allegations raised against him by a former girlfriend. Elliott appealed, and the NFLPA filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas before the appeal with the NFL was complete.
Judge Amos Mazzant in Eastern Texas applied a preliminary injunction to allow Elliott to keep playing while the court case continued. The NFL appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court, and that court overturned the injunction and ordered the lower court to drop the case.
So Elliott and the NFLPA re-filed the case in New York. The court gave Elliott a temporary restraining order allowing him to keep playing until a decision could be reached on an injunction. Then the court decided not to grant an injunction. The court upheld its own decision on appeal, so the NFLPA asked the Second Circuit for a stay.
Now that’s been granted, and Elliott’s suspension is once again on hold.
What happens next? This is a temporary stay. The NFLPA will continue its appeal. The NFL also could just let it go and let Elliott play while the court case drags on. But that’s unlikely.
The NFLPA and NFL are both heavily invested in the outcome here because the case law established by Elliott stands to impact player discipline going forward. No matter what path the league chooses to take, this is probably far from over.