Despite the NFL winning in federal appeals court on Thursday, the broader legal fight regarding Ezekiel Elliott‘s six-game suspension isn’t over. And the NFL Players Association has essentially pointed that out.
“The NFLPA is reviewing the decision and considering all options,” the union said in a statement issued on Thursday. “The appellate court decision focuses on the jurisdictional issues. The failures of due process by the NFL articulated in the district court’s decision were not addressed.”
The problem for the NFLPA and Elliott is that the case now shifts to a federal circuit with law on the books (courtesy of the Tom Brady case) that will, in the view of the NFL, make it easier for the league to prevail. The first fight in New York likely will come very soon, with the NFLPA and Elliott likely pursuing an injunction blocking the suspension while the court proceeds.
As to those who claim that the NFLPA and Elliott erred by filing his lawsuit before the internal appeals process had ended, the problem is that the league controls the appeals process — and the league likely would have immediately filed its own lawsuit in New York before Elliott had a chance to file in Texas or anywhere else. So Elliott and the union rolled the dice. If they’d simply gotten a slightly different composition of the three-member appeals panel, they likely would have won.