Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, coming off his best game of the season in the 40-10 victory against the San Francisco 49ers, will be on the field for Sunday’s game at the Washington Redskins.
Federal Judge Katherine Failla of the Southern District of New York rejected the NFL’s request for an expedited hearing this week before the Redskins game.
She has notified the NFL and Elliott’s lawyers from the NFL Players Association that the preliminary injunction hearing is set for Oct. 30 at 5 p.m., a day after the game.
Elliott, who is fighting a six-game NFL suspension for allegedly assaulting former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson, is playing now thanks to a 14-day temporary restraining order granted Tuesday by Judge Paul Crotty, who was sitting in for a vacationing Failla.
Failla will decide Elliott’s playing status for the remainder of the season after the hearing next Monday.
A preliminary injunction keeps him on the field as his lawsuit against the NFL winds through the court system.
If he is denied an injunction, Elliott will have to begin serving his suspension immediately.
Elliott has long maintained his innocence.
He is fighting to clear his name as well as avoid the six-game suspension.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he supports Elliott’s fight and says Elliott hasn’t been afforded a fair process by the NFL so far.
“At the end of the day, I want him to have landed with a fair, fair, fair picture, perception of where he is on this matter,” Jones said. “The way that this has come down from the NFL, it has not presented him in a fair light.”
Elliott’s legal team has maintained that the league’s investigation and arbitration process was unfair, which three federal judges have substantiated with written summaries.
Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas cited unfairness by the NFL in granting the initial preliminary injunction that allowed him to play the first five games of the season before the injunction was thrown out by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for improper jurisdiction.
But even in that decision, Judge James Graves, the lone dissenter in the 2-1 ruling, wrote in detail about fundamental unfairness from the NFL.
And Crotty echoed a similar sentiment in awarding Elliott the temporary injunction.
Elliott rushed for a season-high 147 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers on Sunday. He also took a screen pass 72 yards for a touchdown to help the Cowboys snap a two-game losing streak and even their record at 3-3.
Elliott and the Cowboys now get a chance to build on that momentum against the Redskins.