Ezekiel Elliott's 6-Game Suspension Upheld by Arbitrator After Appeal

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2017

OXNARD, CA - JULY 25:  Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys is seen during afternoon practice on July 25, 2017 in Oxnard, California.  (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Arbitrator Harold Henderson reportedly upheld the six-game suspension for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott on Tuesday, as first reported by ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

Elliott appealed the six-game suspension on Aug. 15. The NFL Players Association released a statement on the running back's behalf at the time:


Our union has appealed the NFL’s six-game suspension of @EzekielElliott. https://t.co/tAxspLs7RQ

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the decision to uphold the ban came during the final five to 10 minutes of Tuesday's court hearing.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the NFL elected to allow Elliott to play in Sunday's season opener against the New York Giants. Rapoport added more details:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

To sum it up: Zeke Elliott plays Sunday. Could get a restraining order to stay in the field this season. Could not get it and sit Weeks 2-7.

ESPN's Adam Schefter shared the statement from Elliott's attorneys:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Statement from Ezekiel Elliott's attorneys: https://t.co/6AhGr3QOzC

Schefter broke the initial news Elliott was suspended for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy for his alleged role in a domestic violence case from July 2016. The league also released a statement explaining its rationale behind the suspension, which Mike Garafolo of NFL.com shared:

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

Official https://t.co/7coIXNqA2J

As can be seen above, the letter noted advisers "were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions."

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Elliott responded by releasing a statement saying he was "both surprised and disappointed by the NFL's decision" and "strongly" disagreed with the six-game suspension.

Henderson's decision to uphold the penalty comes after NFL investigators revealed Elliott's accuser had "discussed leveraging sex videos featuring her and Elliott for money from the player" in a text exchange, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. Robinson reported the NFLPA was going to use the texts as part of a larger effort to attack the accuser's credibility during the appeal.

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report cited a Cowboys source who said Elliott planned on fighting the suspension "as hard as Tom Brady did."

Freeman used the Brady precedent and explained Elliott could "go the legal route" after losing the appeal. Brady lost his initial appeal for his Deflategate suspension but sued and succeeded in getting a federal court to overturn the penalty.

While the NFL then appealed to the U.S. Second Circuit and ultimately forced Brady to serve the suspension, the dragged-out process significantly delayed when the quarterback missed game action.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Sept. 1 that Elliott had filed a 30-page petition in Texas federal court saying he was the victim of a "league-orchestrated conspiracy...to hide critical information." Elliott's father tweeted the running back's "legal team is ready to fight."

Elliott is coming off an impressive rookie season in which he led the league with 1,631 rushing yards and spearhead Dallas' NFC East title run alongside quarterback Dak Prescott.

While the Cowboys still have Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris to shoulder the rushing load during Elliott's absence, it will be difficult to replace his output.

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