Ezekiel Elliott’s 6-Game NFL Suspension Reinstated by Court – New York Times

“The appellate court decision focuses on the jurisdictional issues,” the statement said. “The failures of due process by the N.F.L. articulated in the district court’s decision were not addressed.”

The appeals court also ordered the district court to dismiss a case filed by Elliott’s representatives.

Elliott’s lawyer, Frank Salzano, issued a statement about Thursday’s ruling. “We are currently exploring all of our legal options and will make a decision as to what is the best course of action in the next few days,” the statement said. “Until that time we have no further comment on the fifth circuit’s decision.”

In a dissenting opinion to the court’s decision, Judge James E. Graves Jr. said the case centered on undisclosed information, uninformed decisions and an “arguably unfair process” leading to the suspension, and he disagreed that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction.

A crucial part of Graves’s dissent addressed the involvement of Kia Roberts, the N.F.L.’s director of investigations.

“After the N.F.L.P.A. was successful in compelling Roberts’ testimony, the N.F.L.P.A. discovered that Roberts was excluded from meetings with Goodell and outside advisers,” Graves’s dissent said. “The arbitrator then denied the opportunity to question Goodell. The revelation of Roberts’ exclusion suggests that Goodell was not fully informed before making his decision about the appropriate punishment.”

To Graves, that was part of an overall strategy by the N.F.L. that he said, citing legal precedent, met the standard of having “impugned the integrity of the arbitration process.”

A somewhat rocky start to the season for Elliott — possibly caused in part by the distraction of the looming suspension — has contributed to Dallas’s rocky 2-3 start to the season. At this point last season, Elliott, who helped lead the Cowboys to a 14-2 record as a rookie, had 546 rushing yards and five touchdowns. This year he has 393 yards and two touchdowns, and his average yardage per game is 78.6, a significant drop from his average of 108.7 for all of last season.

The league first issued the suspension — the baseline punishment for a first-time domestic violence offender — after a yearlong investigation into allegations made against Elliott in July 2016. Elliott was not arrested or charged by prosecutors, but the N.F.L. used statements by a former girlfriend of Elliott’s, along with photos of injuries he is accused of inflicting upon her, to justify the suspension.

There have been twists and turns throughout the process since the initial ruling allowed Elliott to play. Now that the suspension is reinstated, the legal fight will most likely shift to Manhattan.

When the union filed its case in defense of Elliott in Texas, the N.F.L. filed a separate motion in the Southern District of New York, in which it argued that that court was the appropriate venue for the league and its players to settle their disputes. The league’s headquarters is in Manhattan, and other cases, including a suspension fight between the league and the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, have been heard in Manhattan.

The Cowboys have a bye in Week 6 and do not play again until Oct. 22, so the union has more time to file motions before Elliott’s suspension keeps him out of a game.


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Ezekiel Elliott’s 6-Game NFL Suspension Reinstated by Court – New York Times

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