ezekiel elliott
Photo: Ezra Shaw

The NFL Cancels Ezekiel Elliott’s Fun

When the NFL announced a six-game suspension for star Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott before the season following a lengthy domestic violence investigation, it was seen as a punishment that didn’t match the evidence provided. An appeal temporarily reversed the decision, allowing Elliott to begin the season on the field. But as if to add insult to the Cowboys’ injury—the team has a losing record with a third of the season already over—the NFL has reinstated Elliott’s six-game suspension, and America’s Team will have to turn its season around without its best player.

A federal appeals court overturned the district court decision that allowed Elliott to play this season on Thursday, after deciding that the district court didn’t have the power to preside over Elliott’s case, a circumstance known legally as a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The decision, which came down by a count of 2-1, invalidated the prior injunction that stayed Elliott’s suspension in September.

The NFL Player’s Association isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, though. NFL.com reports that the union is expected to take another hack at it with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where they’ll seek a restraining order and a preliminary injunction that could get Elliott back onto the field sooner than later. The Cowboys don’t have a game this week, meaning the NFLPA has more than a week to potentially keep Elliott from missing any actual game time, but it’s considered a long shot. Especially considering that the tug-of-war has been a topic in football media for weeks on end, which does little to help NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sleep at night.

Initially, Elliott was accused of assaulting a romantic partner in the summer of 2016, but the NFL didn’t appear to have hands-on involvement with the case until a few months ago, when Elliott was suspended despite a perceived lack of surefire evidence. The fact that the suspension was for six games—longer than initial suspensions handed down for cases characterized by much stronger evidence—suggested that the NFL was more focused on setting a precedent than justice.

Intentions aside, nearly half of Zeke’s 2017-2018 season now hangs in the balance.

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