Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension was reinstated on Thursday after a federal appeals court overturned a district court’s decision.
The 5th Circuit of appeals in New Orleans ruled 2-1 in favor of the NFL that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction in Elliott’s case. The appeals court heard oral arguments from the league and NFL Players Association lawyers earlier this month. It vacates the preliminary injunction and directs an order to the lower court to dismiss the case.
“Earlier today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the preliminary injunction that prohibited the league from imposing the six-game suspension issued to Ezekiel Elliott for a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy,” the league wrote in a statement. “The Court also directed the district court to dismiss the union’s lawsuit which was filed on Elliott’s behalf. As a result, Elliott’s suspension will begin effective immediately. Elliott is eligible to return to the team on Friday, November 24 following the Cowboys’ Thursday, November 23 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.”
Elliott’s lawyer, Frank Salzano, said his team will explore all of its legal options before commenting further.
“We are currently exploring all of our legal options and will make a decision as to what is the best course of action in the next few days,” Salzano said in a statement released to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “Until that time we have no further comment on the 5th circuit’s decision.”
Thursday’s ruling immediately put Elliott’s playing status into question. The NFLPA is expected to re-file the case with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in order to keep Elliott playing, according to the NFL.com report. The Cowboys are on a bye this week, and there is a chance he does not miss any games should the NFLPA be granted a TRO or preliminary injunction.