The NFL wants to accelerate the timeline in its appeal of the injunction that blocked Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension over a domestic violence issue.
The league answered a filing from Elliott’s attorneys Wednesday, telling U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant that the league would go to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans if he doesn’t rule on its request for a stay of the injunction by Thursday.
“If this court declines to grant relief, respondents intend to seek a stay from the Court of Appeals and believe it is important to give the Court of Appeals the opportunity to act promptly,” NFL attorneys wrote in their answer to the filing from Elliott’s attorneys.
Elliott will more than likely play in Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. He was cleared to play in the regular season opener against the New York Giants, rushing for 104 yards on 24 carries in the 19-3 Cowboys win.
Elliott was suspended after a year-long investigation by the league in which commissioner Roger Goodell concluded Elliott had several physical confrontations with ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson while he was playing at Ohio State. Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio decided not to pursue the case more than a year ago.
Attorneys representing Elliott for the NFL Players Association contend that Elliott didn’t get a fair hearing in an appeal that was later denied. In a later filing, Elliott’s attorneys said the NFL cannot meet the standard for irreparable harm because the league can still suspend Elliott if it wins on appeal. Mazzant sided with Elliott in his initial ruling.
Elliott’s attorneys also contend the initial appeal before Harold Henderson was unfair because Thompson and commissioner Roger Goodell were barred from testifying.
The NFL argues that Mazzant’s ruling interferes with a labor agreement that was approved by both the league and its players. The latest collection bargaining agreement (CBA) gives Goodell unfettered authority to suspend players and the appeals process is consistent with the league’s personal conduct policy.
“Petitioner should not be allowed to evade CBA obligations by delaying suspensions through the courts,” NFL attorneys wrote.