Ezekiel Elliott suspension would be the beginning, not the end

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It’s taken more than a year to get to the point where the NFL has an Ezekiel Elliott suspension locked and loaded. But the announcement, which could come at any moment, would in many ways not be the end but the beginning.

The letter communicating the suspension will explain Elliott’s appeal rights. He’ll have three business days to commence the process. If/when (when) he does, Commissioner Roger Goodell will have the ability to preside over the appeal personally, or to designate someone else to handle it.

Typically, the Commissioner personally handles one decision or the other, but not both. With Tom Brady‘s suspension, Goodell delegated the initial decision to Troy Vincent, and Goodell handled the appeal. With Greg Hardy’s suspension, Goodell issued the suspension and delegated the appeal to Harold Henderson (who reduced the suspension). With Ray Rice, Goodell issued the initial decision to suspend Rice indefinitely after the elevator video surfaced, and Goodell assigned the appeal to a truly independent arbitrator — whose decision to scrap the suspension means that Goodell likely won’t be doing that again.

After the appeal is finalized, Elliott will have the right to seek judicial intervention. Even if he eventually loses (and he likely would lose), he could potentially delay the suspension by obtaining a preliminary injunction blocking the suspension until the case is resolved. Brady did that two years ago. Several years before that, former Vikings defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams delayed a suspension in the Starcaps case for multiple seasons. (By the time the case ended, Pat Williams had retired.)

The NFL also could choose to do what it did in the Brady case — filing a lawsuit that seeks a declaration that the suspension is valid in a favorable forum before Elliott can file in a place where he’d be more likely to win. Two years ago, the league immediately filed suit in federal court in Manhattan after denying Brady’s appeal.

Although the league lost at the first level, the win in the appeals court makes the Southern District of New York an even more attractive option.

Bottom line — there’s still a chance that Elliott will possibly play all of the 2017 season, even if his internal appeal is resolved before Week One.

23 responses to “Ezekiel Elliott suspension would be the beginning, not the end

  1. So who’s the running back for Dallas when Elliott isn’t playing? That’s the real question here. We know Zeke will miss a big chunk of the season, so who will actually be the starting running b back in his absence? And will that severely impact the Dallas offense?

  2. If anyone thinks for one second that the full capacity of Jerry Jones’ Attorneys will not be behind Zeke on this immediately after the second a decision is handed down, then they are sadly mistaken. Jerry will make a mockery of Roger and the NFL’s process if this goes down negatively against Zeke. I for one look forward to someone finally putting Roger in his place.

    Many of these suspensions came without validity and never once have they been consistent case to case. That if anything, needs to change immediately.

  3. v2787 says:
    August 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm
    So who’s the running back for Dallas when Elliott isn’t playing? That’s the real question here. We know Zeke will miss a big chunk of the season, so who will actually be the starting running b back in his absence? And will that severely impact the Dallas offense?

    ———–

    I guess we will get a chance to see just how good Dak is at carrying a team.

  4. “After the appeal is finalized, Elliott will have the right to seek judicial intervention. Even if he eventually loses (and he likely would lose), he could potentially delay the suspension by obtaining a preliminary injunction blocking the suspension until the case is resolved.”

    Because he is likely to lose he cannot get a preliminary injunction.

  5. The running back(s) will be McFadden and probably Alfred Morris. McFadden did a great job two seasons ago and finished as a top 5 rusher in the NFC. Morris is solid. they lack break-away skills, but the fall off shouldn’t be terrible.

  6. v2787, if you are going to comment then be abreast of what is happening in the NFL.
    Dallas has two immediate running backs after Elliott. They are Darren McFadden and Alfred Moriis.

  7. I wonder what % of Cowboys fans are naive to think Jerrah hasn’t done everything in his power to fight this? 100%? 99%?

  8. There is no comparison to this and other cases like the Starcaps case. There were genuine questions in that case about the conduct of the NFL and the application of punishement. This looks like a case solidly outlined in the CBA and very similar to other cases already considered. The preliminary injunction assumption and insuing court battle is really a reach here. Most likely the appeal will get it moderated to four games starting with week one and that will be that.

  9. I’m really sick of the NFL trying to be the police. We have a government legal system for that. Is Roger Goodell really a better judge than the police and courts? Does he have time and skill to judge cases better than the legal system?

    I want to watch sports … and if the courts don’t think player-x should be in jail … then why can’t they plan football?

  10. Should he not be in prison? If you assault someone, that should be your destination, not the couch at home. He beats up girls. Where is NOW and all the other protest groups? Okay, this is Texas, where you can beat up your lady.

  11. thepunkyqb says:
    If anyone thinks for one second that the full capacity of Robert Kraft Jerry Jones’ Attorneys will not be behind Tom Brady Zeke on this immediately after the second a decision is handed down, then they are sadly mistaken. Robert Kraft Jerry will make a mockery of Roger and the NFL’s process if this goes down negatively against Zeke. I for one look forward to someone finally putting Roger in his place.
    ======================================================

    I could swear I read the exact same thing about 2 years ago during Deflategate. Oh boy, Cowboy fans will become the new Patriots fans whining and ruining EVERY SINGLE THREAD on PFT.

  12. I feel like the court system has enough on it’s plate already, without having to deal with these petty lawsuits from professional sports. Perception is reality in this day and age, and the perception is this kid is too guilty and dumb not to be suspended.

  13. derekgorgonstar says:
    August 11, 2017 at 12:03 pm
    HE WAS NEVER CHARGED WITH ANYTHING, SUSPENDED FOR WHAT?!
    ————————————————————————————————–

    Greg Hardy had his charges dismissed –> never convicted
    Ray Rice had his charges dismissed –> never convicted
    Tom Brady was never caught deflating balls

    Weed is legal in Colorado, that does not mean Colorado Players can smoke weed and still Play in the NFL.

    Their are US Laws and their are NFL rules.
    Elliot has violated NFL rules
    the only thing the NFL is doing is covering their arses in case their is another video incident released if they just give him a slap in the wrist.

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