Ezekiel Elliott was allowed to play against the Chiefs in Week 9 thanks to a temporary stay issued by the Second Circuit Court. On Thursday, the court denied Elliott an injunction, according to sports and gaming attorney Daniel Wallach. The decision will put Elliott’s six-game suspension back in place effective immediately.
The NFLPA is running out of options. It can appeal to the Second Circuit for an en banc hearing with all of the circuit court’s judges. It can also take the case to the Supreme Court. Neither approach is likely to succeed. Elliott’s suspension appears to be on for good this time.
The court denied Elliott’s motion on the basis that he did not “meet the requisite standard” for an emergency injunction. The order, which was obtained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, revokes the stay issued by the court last week. It also orders an expedited appeal process. The appeal will be argued by both sides in a hearing on Dec. 1, according to Wallach.
Barring any further changes, Elliott is eligible to return to the field in Week 16 for a Christmas Eve matchup against the Seahawks. If the court sides with him during the Dec. 1 hearing, it’s possible Elliott will only miss four games instead.
What led up to this? Elliott was handed a six-game suspension by the league after a year-long investigation into domestic violence allegations raised against him by a former girlfriend. Elliott appealed, and the league’s arbitrator, Harold Henderson, upheld the decision.
The NFLPA filed a federal lawsuit against the league in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas. Judge Amos Mazzant granted the union’s motion for an injunction to allow Elliott to keep playing. The NFL appealed in the Fifth Circuit Court, and a panel of three judges in that court overturned Mazzant’s ruling in a split decision. Elliott’s suspension was back on, and the lower court was ordered to drop the case.
Elliott and the NFLPA refiled the case in the Southern District of New York. He was initially granted a temporary restraining order, delaying his suspension yet again. But Judge Katherine Polk Failla ruled against issuing an injunction, which made his suspension active again.
So the NFLPA appealed. The Second Circuit Court granted a temporary stay on Judge Failla’s decision, which allowed Elliott to play in Week 9. Now the court has ruled in the NFL’s favor, and Elliott’s suspension is finally set to begin starting in Week 10.
What happens next? There were rumors that the league and the NFLPA were working toward a settlement. But the case has been so contentious that it’s an unlikely outcome.
Again, the NFLPA could push for an en banc hearing or take this to the Supreme Court. The outcome of this case will have an impact on Roger Goodell’s absolute authority over player discipline. That makes it difficult for the union to let this decision stand without a fight. But the NFLPA and Elliott are running out of possible solutions.