The legal wrangling in Ezekiel Elliott's suspension case continues. Friday, the NFL filed a motion for an emergency stay request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that, if granted, would potentially allow the league to enforce its suspension of therunning back in the weeks ahead.
Per NFL.com, the league is asking the Fifth Circuit for a stay on a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order issued last week by U.S. Court Judge Amos Mazzant III that likely has put Elliott's suspension on hold for the remainder of the season. Although there is no firm timeline for a decision, the Fifth Circuit could make a ruling in a matter of days -- perhaps even soon enough to bar Elliott from playing in Week 3 if it sides with the NFL.
Elliott's team responded Friday morning:
In its motion the NFL asks for ruling from the court by no later than Sept. 26 -- the Tuesday of Week 4. The league believes Mazzant defied precedent in his decision to grant the NFL Players Association and Elliott an injunction after finding Elliott didn't recieve a fair appeal in front of league-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson.
"The court not only entertained a blatantly prematurely challenge, but then found a likelihood of success in a procedural challenge to the arbitrator's decision," the NFL's motion states. "That precedent-defying decision will not stand, and nothing in the stay equities favors delaying an arbitrator's decision that will almost certainly be vindicated at the end of the proceedings. The misguided order ... should be stayed and then promptly reversed."
It'll be difficult for the league to obtain an emergency stay from the Fifth Circuit, according to Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program.
"The NFL will have to convince the Fifth Circuit that it has a likelihood of success on the merits and that it will suffer irreparable harm if the stay is not granted," Feldman said. "It may be difficult for the league to convince the court that it will suffer irreparable harm given that Elliott could serve his suspension later in the season or next season once a full appeal on the merits has been decided. If the court does grant the stay, however, it is an extremely strong indicator that it will ultimately rule in the NFL's favor and overturn the injunction."