The Ezekiel Elliott hearing is over after passionate arguments from the NFL and NFLPA lawyers regarding jurisdiction, exhaustion, merit, futility and jurisprudential doctrine for roughly 60 minutes before the 5th Circuit of U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Ruling might come after NFL brief
3:25 p.m. The NFL will file a response brief by Tuesday morning. The court said it will rule quickly once that brief is filed.
The three-judge panel hearing the case on Monday includes Judge Edward C. Prado, Judge James E. Graves, Jr. and Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod.
But Prado and Elrod are both Texas natives, growing up in San Antonio and Port Arthur respectively with undergrad work at the University of Texas and Baylor.
Pratik Shah handled the hearing for the NFL while Jeffrey Kessley argued Elliott’s case for the NFLPA.
Both lawyers were interrogated with rebuttal questions from the three judges, particularly Elrod.
She scrutinized both sides, pushing Kessler on jurisdiction and why he would introduce a brief at the last minute.
She hammered the NFL on irreparable harm, particularly noting that the NFL undermined its own argument when it allowed Elliott to play in the season opener.
Graves zeroed on in the issue of fundamental fairness and the fact that lead investigator Kia Roberts was allowed to personally talk to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about her findings when he asked “it matters what information was given to the Commissioner, doesn't it?”.
Elliott did not attend the hearing
2:33 p.m. The three judge panel will now decide if Elliott will become the first case in history, per the NFL, where a suit was filed before an arbitrators final ruling and allowed to go forward.
Elliott did not attend the hearing. The tone of proceedings, where the judges challenged the NFL on fairness, irreparable harm and undermining its own process by letting Elliott play in the season opener, has Elliott's lawyers feeling good about their chances of getting the NFL's request of a stay of the preliminary injunction denied, if they are able to overcome the jurisdiction issue.
The NFL was equally confident it would prevail with the 5th circuit based on jurisdiction and merit.
Jurisdiction appears to be the biggest key for both sides.
A decision could come by the end of week, but could take as long as two weeks, meaning Elliott could stay on the field for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, giving the Cowboys the bye the following week to work on plans to play without him if he is forced to serve the six-game suspension.
— Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Dallas Cowboys 2017 Schedule
Sept. 10: Cowboys 19, New York Giants 3
Sept. 17: Denver Broncos 42, Cowboys 17
Sept. 25: Cowboys 28, Arizona Cardinals 17
Oct. 1: Los Angeles Rams 35, Cowboys 30
Oct. 8 vs. Green Bay (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Oct. 15 Bye
Oct. 22 at San Francisco (KDFW/4) 3:05 p.m.
Oct. 29 at Washington (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Nov. 5 vs. Kansas City (KTVT 11) 3:25 p.m.
Nov. 12 at Atlanta (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Nov. 19 vs. Philadelphia (KXAS/5) 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 23 vs. L.A. Chargers (KTVT/11) 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 vs. Washington (KXAS/5) 7:25 p.m.
Dec. 10 at New York Giants (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Dec. 17 at Raiders (KXAS/5) 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 24 vs. Seattle (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Philadelphia (KDFW/4) Noon