Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is eligible to play in Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants, even though an arbitrator upheld Elliott’s six-game suspension handed down by commissioner Roger Goodell that stems from a domestic violence case.
In a temporary restraining order hearing in U.S. District Court on Tuesday in Sherman, Texas, NFL attorneys acknowledged that, because of the timing of Harold Henderson’s decision to uphold Elliott’s suspension for violating the personal conduct policy, Elliott will be able to play Week 1 against the Giants.
The NFL issued a statement on Twitter explaining Elliott’s being cleared to play Sunday.
“In the absence of a ruling from Mr. Henderson at the outset of the hearing, the judge indicated his desire to have the appropriate time to consider all legal issues before making a ruling,” the NFL explained. “To that end, the judge asked counsel whether it was prepared to allow Mr. Elliott’s suspension, if upheld, to begin after week one, allowing him time to make that ruling. In deference to the judge, NFL counsel agreed that Mr. Elliott would be permitted to play this weekend regardless of the timing of the decision. When the decision was issued, the judge advised that in light of the league’s agreement, he would allow additional filings and make his decision by Friday.”
Elliott’s availability for Week 2 at the Denver Broncos and beyond is in doubt. Judge Amos Mazzant said he will make a decision on Elliott’s temporary restraining order by 6 p.m. ET Friday.
If the TRO is not granted and Elliott does not take the case further in the legal system, then the first game Elliott would be eligible to play would be Nov. 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Elliott’s attorneys said they intend to take his case to the federal level if necessary.
“Mr. Elliott is looking forward to having his day in federal court where the playing field will be level and the NFL will have to answer for its unfair and unjust practices,” Elliott’s attorneys said in a statement.
A spokesman for the Cowboys said the team has no comment on Tuesday’s decision.
SOURCE: Todd Archer