Much will be made of a court filing made Wednesday in the Ezekiel Elliott. Ultimately, it will be much ado about nothing.
The league submitted to Judge Amos L. Mazzant III its last-word brief on the question of whether Mazzant should stay the injunction blocking the suspension pending an appeal of his decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. But unless Judge Mazzant has experienced a road-to-Damascus-style epiphany, he’s not going to say, “Sure, I’ll turn my ruling from last week on its head and allow the NFL to suspend Elliott while the appeals court decides whether my decision to block the suspension should stand.”
The point of the initial ruling was to keep Elliott on the field while his lawsuit proceeds. The point of the motion for a stay is to lay the foundation for an expedited appeal.
Ultimately, that’s the challenge the league now faces: Finding a way to finesse the appeals court to move quickly on the question of whether the ruling delaying the suspension should be reversed.
When a federal judge in New York decided to let Patriots quarterback Tom Brady play pending the litigation arising from the #DeflateGate suspension, the league didn’t pursue an immediate appeal. The eventual win in the appeals court in Brady’s case has emboldened the league to try to get the ruling blocking Elliott’s suspension overturned.
It’s a question that will linger on a week-to-week basis until the Fifth Circuit takes up the question and answers it. Which means that Elliott will continue to play, indefinitely, until the Fifth Circuit issues a decision.