The NFL upped the ante Wednesday on Ezekiel Elliott and U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant, who granted the Dallas Cowboys star running back a temporary injunction against a six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Mazzant is expected to rule next week on a motion filed Monday by the NFL for a stay of the injunction that is keeping Elliott on the field until the lawsuit makes it way through the court system, which could take months.
The NFL had until Friday to answer a response by Elliott and the NFL Players Association on the emergency stay. The NFL filed their response shortly after the NFLPA on Wednesday.
More importantly, it requested that Mazzant make a decision by Thursday or it would take the matter to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday.
“Now that this emergency stay request is fully briefed, Respondents would respectfully request that this Court rule on the request as expeditiously as possible,” the NFL said in its response Wednesday. “If this Court declines to grant relief, Respondents intend to seek a stay from the Court of Appeals and believe it is important to give the Court of Appeals the opportunity to act promptly. Accordingly, if this Court is unable to issue a decision by the end of the day tomorrow, Respondents intend to seek a stay of the PI Order from the Fifth Circuit on the morning of Friday, September 15, 2017, as the Rules contemplate.”
The NFL, understanding that it is unlikely that Mazzant will stay his own ruling, is trying to speed up the process.
The court filings have no effect on Elliott’s status for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos, though the 5th Circuit could set a hearing for next week.
If the stay is granted, Elliott will have to serve the suspension immediately while the case is being ruled in court.
If it is denied, he is likely to play the rest of the season as the suit challenging the NFL’s “fairness” in the appeal of the suspension moves to trial.