In what could be a major blow to the Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott, the team’s star running back, had his six-game suspension reinstated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Calling the lawsuit, which was filed by the N.F.L. Players Association on Elliott’s behalf, “premature,” the court ruled that a district court, which had issued an injunction blocking the suspension from being enforced, lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the appeal and vacated its injunction. The court also ordered the district court to dismiss a case filed by Elliott’s representatives.
Elliott, whose struggles on the field have contributed to Dallas’s rocky 2-3 start to the season, received the suspension, which is the baseline punishment for a first-time domestic violence offender, after a yearlong investigation into allegations made against Elliott in July 2016.
There have been twists and turns throughout the process of the enforcement of the suspension, and Elliott has thus far been allowed to play, but now that the suspension is reinstated, the legal fight will 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, where it argued that that court was the appropriate venue for the league and players to settle their disputes. The league’s headquarters is in Manhattan, not Texas, and other cases, including the fight between the league and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, were heard in that court.
Because the Cowboys do not play this week, the union has more time to file motions before Elliott’s suspension might affect his chances of playing in a game.