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NFL denied emergency stay in Ezekiel Elliott case, but has appealed to higher court

The saga continues.

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

A federal judge in Texas has denied the NFL’s emergency motion to lift an injunction that will keep Ezekiel Elliott on the field until his lawsuit against the league is completed, according to sports and gaming attorney Daniel Wallach. Elliott can keep playing, and the league and NFLPA will continue to battle this out in court.

Elliott’s representatives filed a motion asking for the injunction before his disciplinary appeal with the league was even completed. Harold Henderson, who was appointed by Roger Goodell to hear Elliott’s appeal, upheld Elliott’s six-game suspension that was issued by the league over domestic violence allegations made against Elliott in July 2016.

What does this mean? Elliott can keep playing, and the court case will continue. This case been contentious between the league and the NFLPA, and the NFL is not going to be happy that the court didn’t side with it.

Before this decision was handed down, the NFL had already appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court in Texas.

This case stands to impact NFL discipline going forward. Historically, courts have generally upheld the league’s sweeping authority over disciplinary issues. Article 46 of the current CBA gives Roger Goodell complete autonomy over player discipline, and the personal conduct policy is broad, with a much lower threshold for its burden of proof than the legal system.

Elliott’s lawsuit against the NFL is a labor law issue, and the court must establish whether or not Goodell acted appropriately in issuing this suspension. In his decision granting the injunction, Mazzant acknowledged that the league may not have upheld its own credible evidence standard in Elliott’s case. The outcome of this case could shape Goodell’s authority in the future.

Does the NFL have other options? Since Mazzant was the judge who issued the injunction, it was unlikely he was going to overturn his own ruling. The NFL is appealing to a higher court, according to Wallach.

According to the motion it filed with Mazzant, that was always the plan. The NFL said in its filing that if Mazzant had not issued a decision on its motion by close of business on Thursday, the league would file an appeal with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The NFL filed that motion on Friday morning. Mazzant issued his decision on Monday afternoon.

Elliott’s legal team sent a swift response.

“The NFL’s latest maneuvering appears to be indicative of a league with an agenda: trying to navigate a public relations crisis rather than focus on fairness and fact finding,” the statement read.

Now we wait for the outcome of that appeal. In the meantime, Elliott will keep playing.