The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans lifted an injunction Thursday that blocked a six-game suspension for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, clearing the way for a six-game suspension. Elliott is expected to now take his case to the Southern District of NY, which is viewed as a more favorable court for the NFL.
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. Since the National Football League was not granted stay this means Elliott will be able to play for the rest of the season. In Brady's case, his four-game suspension for his alleged role in the Deflategate scandal was enforced at the outset of last season after he played the entire 2015 season based on a ruling by a federal judge.
Thursday's ruling was a major victory for the National Football League, but this battle is likely far from over. With his injunction struck down, the league has already indicated that Goodell has the latitude to enforce the suspension immediately, meaning Elliott could start serving his suspension as soon as this week.
Hill noted the National Football League filed a motion on September 11 "for a stay of the injunction that is keeping Elliott on the field until the lawsuit makes it way through the court system, which could take months". Now, after its latest legal victory, it's far less likely that denial will be tested in a federal court.
The Cowboys head into their bye week 2-3 overall. Dallas next plays October 22 in San Francisco.