Ezekiel Elliott Suspension Update from Federal Court

Dallas Cowboys

Judge Paul Crotty heard arguments this afternoon at the Southern District of New York regarding Ezekiel Elliott’s imminent suspension.

This afternoon, Judge Paul A. Crotty of the Southern District of New York heard arguments regarding Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension from the National Football League. Elliott was initially suspended from competition due to the league’s investigation into Elliott about a domestic dispute.

According to Pete Brush of Law360.com, Crotty oversaw arguments this afternoon in a long, drawn-out battle between Ezekiel Elliott and the NFL. At this stage, the NFL Players Association filed a temporary restraining order which would temporarily halt the NFL’s imposition of the suspension. In New York, a temporary restraining order can only be issued by a judge if the movant faces ‘immediate and irreparable harm.’ The NFLPA argued that Elliott would face ‘irreparable harm’ if he were not allowed to play in the six games he was suspended for.  The NFL opposed Elliott’s argument, stating that his suspension for six games would not cause ‘irreparable harm’ and that Elliott’s argument is a “non-starter.”

According to the NFL, “the union asked the Court for a decision to be made by 4 P.M. Eastern Time today (October 17, 2017). Judge Crotty confirmed that he will likely give a ruling ‘soon’ NFLPA.

Interestingly, and also according to Pete Brush, Judge Crotty stated: “I’m going to go read Brady.” Meaning, Crotty is presumably using the next few hours to read up on the case law that developed out of Brady v. NFL– or, better known as ‘Deflategate.’ The Deflategate decision clarifies the binding nature of NFL imposed discipline through an arbitration process; it gives deference to the arbitration procedures which are put forth by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The NFLPA, if they do not succeed this afternoon, will likely be requesting a ruling en banc from the 5th Circuit. This means that the NFLPA would request a rehearing overseen by a full panel of judges, who could then overrule the 5th Circuit’s decision reinstituting the suspension. It is unlikely that the NFLPA’s request would be granted, as these re-hearings are rarely ever granted.

If Crotty rules against Elliott this afternoon, it is likely that Elliott’s suspension would begin immediately– as the NFL made clear that this was what they wanted to occur after the 5th Circuit’s ruling on their behalf.

UPDATE (3:33 PM): According to Ian Rappaport of NFL.com, “Ezekiel Elliott’s legal team and the NFL were informed today there would be a ruling from the NY Southern District court by the end of day today.” Thus, there should be a decision within the hour.

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