A delayed suspension for Ezekiel Elliott is hardly out of the question

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Not much has been said publicly, or privately, about the Ezekiel Elliott case in the past week. Next week, plenty will be said at the formal appeal hearing. After a ruling is issued, that’s when things could get very interesting.

In recent years, players facing suspensions have repeatedly used the court system to delay the punishment, even if each of them have ended up serving the suspensions after losing in court. Elliott could indeed do the same thing if/when non-neutral neutral arbitrator Harold Henderson rubber stamps the suspension.

Regardless of which side initiates the litigation (in Tom Brady‘s case, it was the league that filed suit), Elliott can seek a preliminary injunction, barring the league from suspending him until the case ends. It’s not an easy move, but NFL players (starting with the StarCaps case driven by former Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams) have had success in this regard.

The key factor is what’s known as “irreparable harm.” If Elliott ultimately wins in court, he’d get the money he would have made in the games he missed, but there would be no way he could go back and play those games. In other words, there’s no way to cure the practical damage to Elliott’s career by writing Elliott a check, if it turns out that the NFL got it wrong.

Another important factor that applies in cases of this nature hinges on the likelihood of success in court. With a stream of players trying to overturn suspensions in court and not succeeding, at some point the NFL could point to the inability of players to win as proof that this one won’t, either.

Those factors (along with consideration of the relative hardships to the parties and the public interest) are considered in a loose, subjective way. In cases like this, the irreparable nature of the harm becomes glaring; if Elliott wins there’s no way Elliott can truly have the damage undone.

Given that he’s starting his second NFL season and presumably will play in 2018 and beyond, what’s the harm to the NFL in pushing the suspension back until Elliott has a fair chance to have his day in court? Even if he’s likely to lose, the slim chance of winning makes delaying the suspension a sensible outcome — which would make Elliott available perhaps for the entire season.

31 responses to “A delayed suspension for Ezekiel Elliott is hardly out of the question

  1. Elliott has the opportunity to sue the NFL in a civil lawsuit to receive back any money lost if the suspension is upheld. All he would need to prove is that the NFL ruined his reputation (slander) by turning a blind eye to Ms Thompson’s text messages about extorting money from him and other testimony that she was out to ruin him. So, the NFL better hope they got it right, but from the looks of it she doesn’t appear to have credibility.

  2. Im not sure why the Cowboys and Elliott would want to delay the suspension. Would you really want his suspension to turn into possibly, say, the last four games of the season, a playoff game and Week 1 next year? That seems to impact things way more than just Week 1 – 6

  3. The NFL sued Tom Brady, they lost and they couldn’t accept an objective jusge’s decision so they filed an appeal. That’s who we’re dealing with, disgraceful organization

  4. The real risk of going to court and delaying the suspension is the suspension could land on games that would be worse than weeks 1-6. Small risk of course, but missing playoff games or even a super bowl would be really awful.

    Also Brady had a better case than Elliot. Not sure why they think this would end up any different in court.

    But he could say he is fighting to clear his name which makes sense.

  5. Regardless of what you think about the Zeke situation or the power Roger Goodell has the ability of the players to keep taking these cases to the courts has to stop. They’ve agreed time and time again that the CBA gives Goodell ultimate control over player discipline, until there is a new CBA I don’t know why the courts continue to agree to hear cases about it.

  6. The suspension is based on Domestic Violence occurring. It should not be a “more likely than not, we think DV occured”.

    I think the NFL is just covering themselves in case it did happen.

  7. I don’t see why Zeke can’t just take it to court and keep on getting a Continuance over and over until the seasons over

  8. I feel for Zeke as a Pats fan and a buckeye fan from mass. the girl’s text messages clearly show extortion was on her mind. But Tommy’s case brought to light that the commissioner has absolute power: that will change come 2021.its the unfortunate truth.

  9. Giants top run d is gonna stuff him anyway. Take the punishment now. Save your legs and self esteem.

  10. Would this point make a plea deal more likely? The NFL may be inclined to offer a lesser suspension so this doesn’t drag on like the Brady case did. That case clearly did not do much for public perception of Goodell and the league. I would think that if Zeke were offered a 3 game suspension at this point, he would be pretty quick to take it.

  11. navyvandal says:
    August 24, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I feel for Zeke as a Pats fan and a buckeye fan from mass.
    You certainly like to run with the big dogs.

  12. I think that lame Josh Brown suspension is going to come back and bite the league in the Goodell.

  13. This case is already over, what’s he suing for? This isn’t a legal issue of DV and whether or not he did it – the NFL ruled that he’s suspended for it and 2 Federal Judges (of the 3 that heard Brady’s case) have ruled that the commissioner can do whatever the hell he wants to his employees based on article 46.

    Elliott can talk for days in a courtroom about how he didn’t do it, how the girl tried to extort him, blah blah blah – when he’s done, all the NFL lawyers need to do is drop article 46 and the brief from the Brady verdict on the judges table and walk away – case closed.

    ALL OF YOU cheered when this happened to the Saints and Pats – now you know how it feels to have the team you root for raped by the NFL. And guess what, it’s going to continue to happen until 2020, so as a Pats fan, I don’t want to hear single one of you cry about it.

    Go back and read your own comments about Brady and now take that sage advice you were so happy to dole out on someone else and apply it to this situation, hypocrites.

  14. The problem with these cases are that they don’t go to a court of law, where they actually get into the details of the case.

    They just go to an appeals court, where they only rule on if the CBA was followed or not.

  15. pauldeba says:
    August 24, 2017 at 12:01 am
    The NFL sued Tom Brady, they lost and they couldn’t accept an objective jusge’s decision so they filed an appeal. That’s who we’re dealing with, disgraceful organization.
    And don’t forget the NFL didn’t appeal against the Brady result in the 1st court but merely appealed to the 2nd court on the narrow point of Fraudger’s power to suspend. So no court has ever ruled Brady guilty, but despicably Fraudger claimed it had and still suspended him, despite admitting in the 1st court that they had no actual evidence, merely suspicions. And they peddled lots of falsified negative propaganda and false data that 31 owners and some of their saltier fans were only too happy to lap up.

  16. Dallas always get preferential treatment. Elliott only screwed up half a dozen times before he gets punished once. Some get it each and every time.

  17. For all of you claiming that he could miss playoff games, you do realize he can drop his appeal at any time and just serve the suspension? Meaning if the Cowboys have any sense or if their lawyers have any involvement in the case they will have an idea way before the playoffs if a decision if coming one way or another. If they even feel that the ruling will go against him they will drop the appeal no later than week 11 or whenever their 10th game is. No playoff games will be missed. That’s just nonsense.

  18. Problem is he’d be risking the suspension for later in the year when the playoffs may be on the line. I would think they would prefer he just take the 2 games which the suspension will be decreased to then it would be over with and the team can move on. This isn’t deflated footballs here. Its a pattern of abuse and if people keep enabling maybe next time he really hurts someone. I think its in the players best interest to move on and show remorse but he won’t cause that doesn’t seem to be him.

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