The Dallas Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott back on the field for their opening game, and rumors indicate that the Pro Bowl running back will be able to play the entire season after a federal judge ruled that the NFL did not give him a fair hearing.
Elliott was originally suspended for six games by the NFL for offseason incidents, including allegations that he assaulted his then-girlfriend. Police had later dropped those charges, and Elliott claimed that the league did not consider evidence that he may have been innocent of the allegations before handing down his suspension.
Federal Judge Amos Mazant agreed, rebuking the NFL for failing to offer a fair hearing to Ezekiel Elliott.
“The question before the Court is merely whether Elliott received a fundamentally fair hearing before the arbitrator,” Mazzant wrote (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). “The answer is he did not. The Court finds, based upon the injunction standard, that Elliott was denied a fundamentally fair hearing by Henderson’s refusal to allow Thompson and Goodell to testify at the arbitration hearing.”
As SportsDay noted, there are now rumors that the Dallas Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott on the field the entire season, as the court is likely to uphold the ruling. While many have drawn comparisons to the suspension handed to Tom Brady for his role in the DeflateGate scandal — in which Brady was initially suspended, then had it thrown out in court only to have a higher court reinstate the NFL’s punishment — many believe that Elliott’s victory will be permanent. Skip Bayless said Elliott’s case against the NFL appears to be much stronger than Brady’s.
Judge said Ezekiel Elliott DID NOT receive a fair hearing before the NFL arbitrator, so he granted a TRO blocking the suspension. pic.twitter.com/CLMhrP6pjM— FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) September 8, 2017
“Now I’m going to say it again, I believe that Ezekiel Elliott has a much better chance of winning his case than Tom Brady had of winning his case in federal and then in appeals court, as you remember,” he said (via Fox Sports).
There are still some experts who believe that the courts could side with the NFL on appeal, as the arbitration process had been spelled out in collective bargaining agreements and agreed to by both sides. The NFL has already started the appeal process, though like in the case of Tom Brady, it could take months before a final decision is handed down. So even if the court ultimately does uphold the ruling against Elliott, he will be able to play the entire 2017 season.
If the rumors are true, then the Dallas Cowboys will earn a huge victory in keeping Ezekiel Elliott on the field the entire season. The team is predicted by many to win the NFC East again this season, and the second-year running back is expected to play a significant role as he did in 2016.
[Featured Image by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]