Could a settlement happen in the Elliott case?

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Two years ago, it was clear that the NFL and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady never would resolve the litigation arising from Brady’s four-game suspension. With Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott scoring a win in court on Friday, could the league and Elliott work things out?

Maybe.

In Brady’s case, the player was never going to accept an outcome that included any suspension, and the league was never going to accept an outcome that didn’t include a suspension. With Elliott, perhaps there could be a middle ground.

That’s not to say Elliott would take the literal middle ground of a three-game suspension. But how about a one- or two-game suspension for pulling down the woman’s top at the St. Patrick’s Day parade? While the league didn’t discipline him for that, the incident was mentioned in the letter informing Elliott of his six-game suspension. Also, there’s no way anyone can dispute that it happened, since it’s on video.

The bigger question is whether the league would agree to any reduction at all, given: (1) the league’s history of stridence when it comes to matters of this nature; and (2) the league’s history of prevailing on appeal when it comes to lawsuits of this nature, which will serve only to increase the stridence. The NFL likely also remains concerned about a Ray Rice-style reaction to the perception that it went too easy on a domestic abuser.

Right or wrong, the league concluded that Elliott committed domestic violence. Reducing the suspension without an admission from Elliott that he committed domestic violence would create a potential P.R. problem for the league, creating the impression that it was too soft on domestic abuse. If, in turn, the league admits that it botched the investigation and disciplinary process, that won’t be good for business, either.

So even if Elliott were willing to accept a suspension for something other than domestic abuse, the league may have no good way out of the corner into which it has painted itself. Which means that the league’s only choice may be to wait in that corner for a lifeline from an appeals court.

25 responses to “Could a settlement happen in the Elliott case?

  1. The NFL’s bigger PR problem is Roger Goodell. His wishy-washy CYA approach to domestic violence problems neither commands nor deserves respect.

  2. As long as the case is in the Fifth Circuit the NFLPA (and Elliott) has no reason to settle. The Judge has already indicated his disdain for the NFL kangaroo court and Keystone cop investigation. If the case remains in the court where the player lives the NFL has lost a valuable bargaining chip for the new CBA – and both sides know it. This is no longer about domestic violence – it’s about the legitimate US legal forum to which a player can appeal and the processes used by the NFL in its vigilante punishment system based on PR.

  3. I don’t get how a judge can rule on this as the discipline process has been collectively bargained.
    This is a union/magement issue, not a judicial issue.

  4. All the more to file a defamation lawsuit against the league if the appeals court overturns the injunction. The league wants that label of abuser attached to Elliott’s name, but given the nature of the leagues handling of the investigation he may not have done anything at all, which would clear a path for him to prove the conspiracy theory in a defamation suit. If he ends up winning that, then the league’s PR nightmare will be bigger than ever.

  5. jimnaizeeum says:
    September 9, 2017 at 8:36 am
    I don’t get how a judge can rule on this as the discipline process has been collectively bargained.
    This is a union/magement issue, not a judicial issue.
    ………………………..

    The NFL and NFLPA collectively bargained this with a stipulation of a fair process. The judge ruled that the process was not fair, hence the CBA not being followed.

  6. jimnaizeeum says:
    September 9, 2017 at 8:36 am
    I don’t get how a judge can rule on this as the discipline process has been collectively bargained.
    This is a union/magement issue, not a judicial issue.
    ____________________________

    This is one of the reasons for civil court. When two parties have an agreement and one feels it has been violated or administered erroneously or in an unfair manner, the civil court determines that. That’s why employers and employees can go to court against one another even if the act is not criminal.

  7. This is the road the two parties have chosen. A binding arbitration clause would have left this out of the courts but this is what they got. So as long as the players are OK with the Union spending millions on player (Brady’s defense alone was $10m) defense this will continue. I assume what the union is telling the players that spending the money will help them in the next CBA. My question would be what does the NFL benefit if they settle? Probably not much.

  8. The way I see it for now is: Zeke..1 & the NFL…0 !! After reading the content of her texts on this site, I do not know how anyone could think he is a domestic abuser! Stupid, absolutely, with his other actions, but that is a long way from DV, and the stigma attached. When one of the league investigators, a female, recommends no suspension, due to the credibility of the accuser, one should take note. Yet, she was not even allowed in the meeting by the Giants’ cheerleader…smh.. Yet, she was the only one who interviewed the accuser SIX times, and did not find her credible..duh…This is strictly the NFL trying to save face. I hope Zeke can continue finding success in clearing his name of DV AND learns a lesson on how to represent the STAR!!!!!

  9. The league did all of this on purpose. The bungling of the case (they’re not TOTAL idiots), the timing, everything….to ensure Zeke would not be suspended this year out of the gate (if at all). My belief in integrity in all of the pro sports is shrinking. It’s a complete sham as the NFL has been working on this behind the scenes to achieve the outcome we are currently seeing come to fruition.

  10. Elliot should receive the minimum 6 game suspension just for pulling down the women’s top . . . if any of us did that at work we would lose out job and go to jail. then IF he beat his girlfriend too, which i believe he did he should be done for the year.

  11. The settlement ship sailed with Henderson’s award and the injunction

    He had a chance to send an olive branch by reducing the suspension to 2 games

    Instead he went hardo and ended helping to prove Elliott’s case

    Now it is all or nothing for Zeke

    #frZeKe

  12. Virtually every expert and talking head feels as though the CBA agreement granting Goodell full power and authority is all that matters, and for proof they point to the Brady Case.

    This case is different than the Brady case legally speaking. The core is that Fundemental Fairness, a long held common law doctrine, is implied in any labor agreement and is not waived no matter who is granted power to decide various issues. That is what is being argued and that is what the court based the decision to grant the injuction on.

    The NFL had their chance to avoid this by simply suspending Elliot for hos body of work regarding his behavior. Nope. They specifically excluded any other bad acts.
    They truly felt they could do whatever.

    It is fine to not like Elliot but the legal issues at hand are valid, and going forwatd rather the NFL adhered to a Fundementally Fair Process is what will decide his fate, not guilt or innocence.

  13. I think it only fitting that the Bearded Woman Beater get hit with 2×4’s by women for a charity event and then to have his pants pulled down to expose what little bits he has and to have him fondled. Apparently he can get away with anything so it is fitting that he show everything.

  14. murphyjr1031 says:
    September 9, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Virtually every expert and talking head feels as though the CBA agreement granting Goodell full power and authority is all that matters, and for proof they point to the Brady Case.
    ———————————–

    All of the “experts” and talking heads are wrong. Brady won his case, regardless of the highly suspicious final outcome. Berman was the only one that correctly called out the incompetence of the league office.

    Empirical evidence from the past 3 seasons proved his innocence as well.

    What Elliott’s case is going to hinge on is the fact that the league office disregarded and suppressed the testimony from the only person that talked to the accuser, and they failed to give Elliott access to the information or people he needed to adequately prepare his appeal. That happened with Brady as well, but no one made a big deal out of it.

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