The fate of Dallas Cowboys star running Ezekiel Elliot is now officially in the hands of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals as U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant denied the NFL’s motion to grant an emergency stay of his preliminary injunction blocking Elliott’s six-game suspension.
The NFL took the case to the Fifth Circuit on Friday and filed a brief with the court on Monday asking it not only rule on the emergency stay, but also expedite the appeal of the preliminary injunction and hear briefs on both issues simultaneously in hopes resolving the issue of Elliott’s status in a matter of days.
Noted sports law attorney Daniel Wallach said, “I’ve never seen that done before and it’s very, very unlikely.”
The NFL has asked for a response on the stay from the Fifth Circuit by 10 a.m. Tuesday or Sept. 26 at the latest.
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It is of note that Mazzant chided the NFL in going to the Fifth Circuit before he had a chance to make its ruling, which he said he was unable to do so at the requested time of Thursday because he was involved in a trial.
“In its Emergency Motion in front of the Court, the NFL is complaining that the Court essentially issued a premature order by failing to wait for the arbitrator to issue his ruling and therefore, lacked subject matter jurisdiction,” Mazzant said in his ruling. “Oddly, the NFL is now seeking expedited relief from the Fifth Circuit without first waiting for the Court to rule on the identical issue. The irony is not lost on the Court.”
Mazzant’s ruling also brings back to the forefront the the NFL’s argument that Elliott would not suffer irreparable harm if the suspension went into effect because he would recover any lost money if later court rulings found the suspension should be permanently enjoined.
“It is well-recognized that Elliott will suffer injury if he has to serve an improper suspension while awaiting the resolution of the petition to vacate,” Mazzant wrote.
He also added that the league has not shown any harm that will be done to it if the suspension is on hold while the legal process plays out.
Elliott has played in both of the Cowboys’ first two games, against the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.