Ezekiel Elliott’s on again, off again suspension is back on after a ruling Thursday afternoon.
The emergency motion filed by the Cowboys running back’s legal team was denied by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That means Elliott’s suspension is active and barring any last-minute legal wrangling, he will not play on Sunday in Atlanta.
The NFL Player’s Union and NFL each had 15 minutes to argue before that panel. In an hour, the judges had made up their minds and denied the request from Elliott. Since it is just a denial, they didn't have to write an opinion explaining why.
Those judges did grant Elliott what's called an expedited appeal. Oral arguments have already been scheduled for Dec. 1 -- four games into the suspension.
At this point, Elliott will miss games against the Falcons, Eagles, Chargers and Redskins. If the full suspension remains, he would also miss early December games against the Giants and Raiders.
Sports law attorney Daniel Wallach, who has been offering analysis on this case, said the expedited appeals are far from speedy.
“Expedited doesn't mean overnight, it just means quicker than usual and even were Elliott to prevail in the early phase of this appeal, this is not the merits appeal, this is the appeal of just the preliminary injunction denial,” Wallach said.
Wallach said Elliott could ask for all of the judges in the second circuit to hear the case or he could also try to take it to the Supreme Court. But Wallach said that's unlikely and Elliott is going to serve out the full six-game ban. Wallach says there is now only a couple options left to block the suspension.
While the suspension will now start, the appeal still moves forward with a hearing set for December 1. It is four games into the suspension. Depending on how the judge's rule and how quickly, it could bring Elliott back.
“We have three briefs and oral arguments and the court would have to take some time to issue a written decision,” Wallach explained.
The Elliott suspension has been weaving through the courts since he was ordered in August to serve the ban for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. The suspension came after the NFL investigated his alleged use of force in the summer of 2016 against his girlfriend.
Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal.
A federal appeals court last month tossed out his court challenge in Texas, but the league's request for a New York court to affirm that it had acted properly led to a judge ruling last week that Elliott must begin his suspension. An immediate appeal by the NFL Players Association to the 2nd Circuit and a request that he be allowed to play Sunday won a one-game reprieve last Friday.