Ezekiel Elliott suspension restored by federal appeals court

Ezekiel Elliott faces a six-game suspension for violating the league's domestic violence policy

Ezekiel Elliott faces a six-game suspension for violating the league's domestic violence policy

A federal appeals court Thursday cleared the way for the National Football League to enforce a six-game suspension against Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott over a domestic violence case.

A three-judge panel heard arguments on the case on October 2. Similar circumstances could follow here, with Elliott serving the suspension next year, or the court could lean on the Brady precedent and require Elliott to begin serving his suspension against San Francisco this month. Mazzant ruled that Elliott did not receive a fair appeal hearing before Henderson, in large part because Elliott's accuser and Goodell did not testify.

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Calling the lawsuit, which was filed by the N.F.L. Players Association on Elliott's behalf, "premature", the court ruled that a district court, which had issued an injunction blocking the suspension from being enforced, lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the appeal and vacated its injunction.

The NFL previously prevailed at the appellate level in cases involving Adrian Peterson and Tom Brady in which the NFLPA challenged disciplinary measures and scored victories at the district court level. In its ruling, the 5th Circuit agreed with league attorneys who argued that Elliott prematurely sued the league September 1. In that scenario, you're thrown back to square one and the only place this could be heard now is in the southern district of NY, which is the court that Zeke and Elliott's people definitely wanted to avoid.

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The circuit court's ruling does not mean Elliott's fight is over. It's a labor law issue surrounding Goodell's power over player discipline and whether or not he is wielding it in a way that is consistent with the personal conduct policy and the current collective bargaining agreement. He may have to serve his suspension, effective immediately.

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