The NFL strongly believes that the ultimate outcome of the Tom Brady litigation gives the league a clear path to victory over Ezekiel Elliott. During Tuesday’s hearing on Elliott’s petition for a temporary restraining order, NFL lawyer Dan Nash said that Elliott has “no chance” to win.
The league’s confidence comes from an interpretation of the final Brady decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (which has jurisdiction over New York federal cases) that, in the view of the NFL, makes it impossible for Elliott to prevail in a court that is required by law to apply the Brady precedent.
“[T]hey didn’t want to be here,” Nash told Judge Paul Crotty. “They didn’t want to confront the Brady decision because they know under the Brady decision they have no chance of success on the merits, none.”
Judge Crotty disagreed, calling the league’s belief that the Brady case means that the NFL isn’t required to use fundamental fairness in disciplinary proceedings “plain wrong.” The next question becomes whether the judge to whom the case was originally assigned, Katherine Polk Failla, agrees when she convenes a hearing on the question of whether the temporary restraining order will become a preliminary injunction, which would block Elliott’s suspension until the litigation ends.
When she takes up the case, the question of irreparable harm will once again be front and center. Players consistently have managed to persuade judges that a subsequent award of financial damages can’t fully compensate a player who misses games that he can never get back.