Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott loses court battle to overturn six-game ban
Last Updated: 13/10/17 1:53pm
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has lost a court appeal trying to block a six-game ban handed to him by the NFL for violating the league's domestic violence policy.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Thursday granted the league's emergency request to set aside the injunction and ordered the district court in Texas to dismiss Elliott's case. The three-judge panel voted 2-1 to back the NFL's argument.
A federal judge in Texas issued an injunction that blocked the suspension last month, agreeing with NFL players' union attorneys who argued that the investigation of the allegations in Ohio and subsequent appeal were unfair to Elliott.
The NFL defended its procedures and argued the union improperly filed a lawsuit before the appeals process was complete.
The Circuit Court agreed and said in its majority decision that the Players Association filed its lawsuit to have Elliott's suspension dissolved before an arbitrator could make his decision.
"At the time the NFLPA filed the complaint, it was possible the arbitrator could have issued a final decision that was favourable to Elliott," the three-judge panel wrote.
"Elliott cannot show it was futile to wait for a final decision simply because he believed the arbitrator would issue an unfavourable ruling. As there was no final decision, Elliott had not yet exhausted the contracted-for remedies."
Elliott's representatives are expected to appeal Thursday's developments.
The Cowboys have a bye this week.
If Elliott's legal team fails to put the suspension on hold again, it will begin on October 22 at San Francisco. Elliott played the first five games while the case was in the courts.
The 22-year old, who was not arrested or charged in the case, maintains his innocence after being accused of assaulting his former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson. The original punishment was issued by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after a 13-month league investigation.
Elliott has rushed for 393 yards and two touchdowns in five games this season. He is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry, well below the 5.1-yard mark of last season when he led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards as a rookie.