The National Football League has taken its case against Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
The league filed a motion on Friday morning for an emergency stay of the injunction that is keeping Elliott eligible to play until the lawsuit is resolved. Elliott was suspended for six games without pay on Aug. 11 by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
The NFL is hoping for a stay decision “by September 19, 2017 (when Week 3 practices begin), but no later than September 26, 2017.”
“We believe the lower court ruling was deeply flawed, based on the merits,” NFL spokesperson Joe Lockhart told reporters on Friday.
Again, while the NFL hopes a ruling on the stay by Tuesday, Lockhart admits it could take up to two weeks.
Elliott’s attorneys issued the following response: "The NFL's latest legal maneuvering appears to be indicative of a league with an agenda: trying to navigate a public relations crisis rather than focus on fairness and fact finding. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the NFL believes it can write its own rules and will stop at nothing to further its agenda of enforcing its unfounded assertions regarding Mr. Elliott.
“Most recently this would include the NFL seeking an expedited hearing on staying the preliminary injunction by frivolously arguing that the NFL is somehow "irreparably harmed" by Elliott playing while the Courts decide whether the investigation and appeal was fundamentally unfair. Mr. Elliott and his team will continue to zealously oppose any of the NFL's court filings."
A “stay” would prevent the injunction from going into effect throughout the outcome of the appeal, thus forcing Elliott to begin serving his six-game suspension immediately.
The Cowboys play at Denver Sunday. Elliott will play for the second consecutive week.
Without an NFL win on an emergency request, the timeline likely would clear Elliott to play his entire second season after he led the league in rushing as a rookie.
U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant granted Elliott a temporary injunction last week. The NFL appealed decison and asked Mazzant to make a ruling on an emergency stay of his own decision by end of business on Thursday.
Mazzant did not rule as of Friday morning.
The NFL responded Friday morning by filing a motion with the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
The league believes Mazzant defied precedent by granting the NFL Players Association and Elliott an injunction after finding Elliott didn't recieve a fair appeal in front of league-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson last month.
“The court not only entertained a blatantly prematurely challenge, but then found a likelihood of success in a procedural challenge to the arbitrator's decision,” the NFL's motion states. “That precedent-defying decision will not stand, and nothing in the stay equities favors delaying an arbitrator's decision that will almost certainly be vindicated at the end of the proceedings. The misguided order ... should be stayed and then promptly reversed.”