Dallas Cowboys

NFLPA files motion in New York court to block Ezekiel Elliott suspension

Ezekiel Elliott, left, could be down for six games unless a New York court grants the latest temporary restraining order to block the suspension.
Ezekiel Elliott, left, could be down for six games unless a New York court grants the latest temporary restraining order to block the suspension. Special to the Star-Telegram

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is officially on the NFL’s suspended list.

That happened Friday, a day after the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted the NFL a stay of the preliminary injunction blocking his six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy and ordered that his case against the league be dismissed.

The NFL reiterated its stance Monday in a conference call with vice president of communications Joe Lockhart, who insisted that the preliminary injunction has been vacated by the courts and the league doesn’t see that changing.

But Elliott and his lawyers from the NFL Players Association have not given up even as his suspension is set to begin Sunday when the Cowboys play at San Francisco. As of now, he is eligible to return Nov. 24 before Dallas’ home game Nov. 30 against Washington.

On Monday, the NFLPA filed a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) with the Southern District Court of New York that could put the suspension on hold. The motion requests a ruling by 3 p.m. Tuesday but the hearing has not yet been put on the docket.

The move came on the heels of Friday’s petition with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals asking for a rehearing before the full appellate court.

But because the Fifth Circuit has not moved quickly enough, the NFLPA filed for the TRO in an attempt to block the suspension and get Elliott on the field Sunday.

Lawyers for the NFL run into Ezekiel Elliott lawyers before 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans

Although many legal analysts believe Elliott has a slim chance of winning in New York, Florida-based sports law attorney Wallach thinks the Hail Mary move has a chance of connecting.

When the three-panel Fifth Circuit judges voted 2-1 to grant the NFL’s emergency request and ordered the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Sherman to dismiss Elliott’s case, the majority decision focused mainly on the issue of jurisdiction.

The Fifth Circuit agreed with the NFL, saying Elliott had not exhausted all remedies under the collective bargaining agreement and that the Texas court did not have proper jurisdiction.

Jennifer Elrod and Edward Prado swung the decision in the NFL’s favor.

Judge James E. Graves issued a dissenting opinion in Elliott’s favor, siding with district court Judge Amos Mazzant who granted the original TRO, while focusing on the fundamental fairness and irreparable harm to Elliott.

“Both gave substantive dissertations on fundamental fairness,” Wallach said. “The (New York) judge is now armed with two powerful court opinions to grant the injunction as a place holder. The opinions provide a road map for an injunction. All he has to show is a likelihood of success. It doesn’t mean he will win the case in the long run.”

Until then, the NFL is clear and his suspension remains unaffected.

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr

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