The six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott stemming from a domestic violence investigation has been upheld by a federal judge, per a report first issued by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
The NFLPA had filed for a temporary restraining order in an effort to Elliott’s suspension. Appeals officer Harold Henderson issued the ruling.
Harold Henderson upheld suspension. Judge reserved ruling until Friday on motion for TRO. Elliott eligible to play in week 1.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 6, 2017
The New York Giants face the Cowboys in their season-opener on Sunday Night Football. As things stand now, Elliott will serve the suspension later in the season, possible beginning as early as Week 2.
Reporting for Pro Football Talk before the ruling was issued, Charean Williams wrote:
In the first five minutes of the hearing, the NFL admitted it would not suspend Elliott in Week 1 even if arbiter Harold Henderson made his ruling this week, per a source. For years, the NFL has observed a weekly deadline when it comes to the implementation of suspensions. If the suspension isn’t finalized by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the suspension gets delayed until the next week.
The NFL began distancing itself from this past practice in the Ezekiel Elliott case, with NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reporting Monday that there is no such rule. The league, though, admitted in court that Elliott would play this week, according to the source.
That, indeed, is how the situation played out.
So the 4 pm Eastern deadline which NFL said wasn't important actually was very important. That's the reason Elliott is playing Sunday.— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) September 6, 2017
Here is more from ESPN’s Dan Graziano on why Elliott is playing vs. the Giants:
When I asked why Ezekiel Elliott is allowed to play in Week 1 even though suspension was upheld, I got this answer: "It was a question asked by the judge in court before a ruling came down. In deference, and as to not rush the judge, league attorneys agreed to permit him to play week 1. Nothing to do with an illusory 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline."
The NFL PR Department issued a statement further clarifying why Elliott will play Sunday:
“In the absence of a ruling form Mr Henderson at the outset of the hearing, the judge indicated his desire to have the appropriate time to consider all legal issues before making a ruling. To that end, the judge asked counsel whether it was prepared to let Mr. Elliott’s suspension, if upheld, to begin after week one allowing him to make that ruling. In deference to the judge, NFL counsel agreed that Mr. Elliott would be permitted to play this weekend regardless of the timing of the decision. When the decision was issued, the the judge advised that in light of the league’s agreement, he would allow additional filings and make his decision by Friday.”
The Giants this week have shown no fear of Elliott, who gained more than 1,600 yards rushing as a rookie in 2016.
“All backs run the same when there is nowhere to run,” said coach Ben McAdoo.
“I’m hoping that his appeal goes through,” Giants safety Landon Collins had said earlier in the week. “He’s a great player, an exciting player and I love to play against the best players.”
Elliott’s attorneys released a statement saying they were “extremely disappointed,” which was first posted on Twitter by Adam Schefter.