Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Appeals NFL Suspension

Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Appeals NFL Suspension

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has appealed his six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy, making him the latest star to push back against the league for the way it has penalized players.

If the NFL does not reduce the suspension, Elliott could sue the league in federal court, setting the stage for a potentially protracted showdown like the one between the NFL and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, which lasted more than a year.

Last week, Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Elliott, who led the NFL in rushing yards last season, his rookie year. The decision came after a yearlong investigation by the league into Elliott’s behavior during a six-day stretch in July 2016 in which his ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson accused him of assaulting her five times in Columbus, Ohio, where he played at Ohio State.

Elliott was not arrested or charged because a prosecutor concluded that Thompson’s statements conflicted with those made by Elliott and witnesses.

The NFL now has 10 business days to schedule a hearing. In the past, Goodell has reduced suspensions when players have admitted fault. If the suspension is not changed, Elliott and the National Football League Players Association could file a claim in court that accuses the league of overstepping its authority.

“We will represent Ezekiel, as we do all players, to ensure that the NFL is held to its obligation of adhering to principles of industrial due process under the collective bargaining agreement,” the union said in a statement.

Winning in court might be difficult. Two years ago, a federal judge blocked the four-game suspension that Brady received for his alleged role in a scheme to deflate footballs used in games. But that decision was overturned on appeal, and Brady was forced to sit out the first four games last season. Other players, including New Orleans Saints running back Adrian Peterson, had results similar to Brady’s.