The effort to block Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension continues, #asexpected.
On Wednesday, the NFL Players Association filed an emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The goal is to get the appeals court to conclude that Elliott should be permitted to play while the appeals court formally considers whether Judge Katherine Polk Failla erroneously failed to grant Elliott an injunction that blocks the suspension pending the outcome of the litigation.
The 14-page document argues that Judge Failla ignored a long line of cases in which courts have allowed athletes to play while litigation regarding a suspension proceeds. That, by far, represents Elliott’s strongest argument. Even if he ultimately loses in court, a victory becomes meaningless if the suspension already has been served before the case ends.
Elliott already has played seven games this year while the litigation has unfolded. If the league eventually wins the case, Elliott will serve his suspension, just like Tom Brady did. So what’s the harm in giving Elliott a full and fair chance to pursue his rights in court before those rights are rendered meaningless by serving the six-game suspension?
The latest motion filed by the NFLPA on Elliott’s behalf does not mention the curious complication arising from the fact that Judge Failla’s husband serves as a partner in the firm that helped negotiate and craft the labor agreement at issue in this case. With judges and lawyers expected to avoid not only impropriety but also the appearance of impropriety, it arguably appears improper and not impartial for the judge to give her husband’s firm’s high-dollar client a victory in a high-stakes case directly involving the high-level work product of her husband’s firm.