BY KALLE SORBO
The Cowboys had a resounding victory over the New York Giants Sunday night in the week one division rivalry matchup. Ezekiel Elliott had 24 carries and 104 rushing yards. But he wasn’t even supposed to be playing. Earlier this summer, the NFL handed down a heavy six-game suspension to Elliott following domestic abuse accusations from Elliots’s ex-girlfriend. He appealed the suspension, and it was upheld. Yet Elliot is still playing, and it looks like he is going to be eligible for the entire regular season. How did we get to this point?
Saying the situation is complex is an understatement. So where do we even start? Last month the NFL issued Ezekiel Elliott a six-game suspension for violating their domestic abuse policy. Elliot then had the opportunity to appeal the suspension, which he did. The suspension was upheld by the NFL’s designated arbitrator Harold Henderson, but the decision did not come in by last Tuesday at 5 p.m. Eastern time. This made him eligible for Sunday night’s game against the Giants.
It is important to note that Henderson’s job as an arbitrator was to decide if the NFL did their due diligence in the process of the investigation, and not to decide whether the punishment was just based on their finding. A six-game suspension is now the league minimum for a violation of their domestic abuse policy.
Caught up? In short, the suspension in theory should have been shifted to weeks two through seven. But there’s more to the situation now. The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is publicly backing Elliott. The NFLPA has stated that it does not believe the NFL has the right to hand out punishment above the court of law, who found that Elliott was not guilty of any of his ex-girlfriend’s claims.
Looking forward, they decided to file for a Temporary Restraining Order on his behalf. The restraining order would put a hold on the suspension until Elliot had the chance to pursue suing the NFL in hopes of reversing the suspension. If this sounds familiar to Tom Brady and the deflategate situation, it’s because it is. Judge Amos Mazzant granted the TRO, and now it looks as if Zeke will be eligible for the entire regular season.
But wait, that’s not all. The NFL requested an emergency stay of the injunction that was granted on Friday. They have also filed a notice of appeals with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the fifth circuit. The judge ordered the NFLPA to file a response to the NFL’s request for a stay by Wednesday at 6 p.m. We should also know of the judge’s decision on the emergency stay by Friday at 6 p.m. If the Judge does not reverse his decision, it isn’t known how quickly an appeal could happen. However if Mazzant does reverse the decision the suspension would go into effect immediately.
So what does this all mean for the Cowboys and, more importantly, your fantasy lineups? For now Elliot is playing. You should probably expect him to play all season. It means the Cowboys are still a serious contender this year, and we won’t get to see the Dak Prescott-sans-Elliot experiment play out just yet.
It means the League and the NFLPA are by no means on the same page, and that this is going to be a long, nasty fight in the courts.
You can catch the Cowboys next Sunday in Denver against the Broncos on FOX.