The NFL Players Association has filed an appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott as he continues to fight his six-game suspension from the NFL over domestic violence allegations.
Union lawyers say Elliott’s suspension should be delayed until the court considers the issue. League lawyers had no immediate comment.
Judge Katherine Polk Failla on Monday night had denied the NFLPA’s request for a preliminary injunction after hearing arguments from the NFL and NFLPA. Failla, ruling in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, had stayed the decision for 24 hours, allowing Elliott’s side one day to consider appealing, which it did Tuesday.
Monday’s ruling would put Elliott’s suspension into effect again, and he would be ineligible to play until the Cowboys’ game against the Oakland Raiders on Dec. 17.
Before filing the appeal, the NFLPA filed an emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal with Failla. She denied the motion.
Elliott did not attend team meetings Tuesday and is not expected at practice Wednesday as the legal battle continues. The Cowboys will begin their full-time preparation for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday.
The union told Failla that she erred by ruling that the NFL’s claims were supported by federal labor law because the league followed the collective bargaining agreement in suspending Elliott.
Lawyers for the NFLPA said Failla was the first judge to have “concluded that professional athletes with short career spans do not face irreparable harm” when suspensions are enforced before appeals options have been exhausted.
The judge had concluded that some of the reasons for Elliott’s claim that he’ll suffer irreparable harm during a suspension were “far too speculative” given all the variables, including the Cowboys’ overall offensive performance, his opponents’ defensive showing and Elliott’s health.
The union also said Failla made erroneous legal conclusions that deserve review by a three-judge appeals panel, particularly after an “unjust and fundamentally unfair arbitration.”
Failla had based some of her rulings on the NFL’s successful appeal in the same jurisdiction in the Deflategate case that ended with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady serving a four-game suspension.
Elliott, 22, received the six-game suspension on Aug. 11 for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy related to domestic violence allegations by a former girlfriend. He was never charged with any crime by the Columbus, Ohio, authorities who investigated the allegations.
The NFLPA was granted a preliminary injunction by a federal judge in Texas on Sept. 8, but a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled with the NFL on Oct. 12, lifted the injunction and ordered the dismissal of Elliott’s lawsuit there.
The NFLPA then went to the Southern District Court in New York, where the case now resides. Elliott was granted a temporary restraining order by U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty on Oct. 17 that allowed him to play in the past two games, but that order was expiring.
Elliott is third in the NFL in rushing with 690 yards in seven games. He’s tied for the league lead with six rushing touchdowns. The Cowboys (4-3), defending NFC East champions, are in second place in the division.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Todd Archer, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.