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U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla denied Ezekiel Elliott’s request for a preliminary injunction Monday night, allowing the six-game suspension the NFL handed the running back for violating the league’s personal conduct policy to begin. 

However, enforcement of the order is stayed for 24 hours, “to afford the parties an opportunity to consider their appellate options.” The next move in this case is likely an NFL Players Association appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which has jurisdiction over appeals from the district courts in Connecticut, Vermont and New York. (Elliott and the NFLPA are unlikely to win a ruling in the Second Circuit, which counts the Tom Brady appeal as controlling precedent.)  

Elliott will now miss the Cowboys‘ games against the Chiefs, Falcons, Eagles, Chargers, Washington and the Giants. He would be eligible to return on Dec. 17 for the Cowboys’ Week 15 game against the Raiders, pending an appeal. However, because his request for an injunction was denied, the suspension begins immediately and he cannot practice with the team or play in games unless the Second Circuit reverses course on this ruling. 

This is obviously bad news for the Cowboys — and Zeke owners in Fantasy. Our own Heath Cummings says there is no sugarcoating the fact that Elliott, as it stands right now, will be out  for the remainder of the Fantasy regular season, as well as Week 14, the first week of the Fantasy playoffs in many leagues. He offers some advice to help soften the blow

Judge Failla asked pointed questions of both sides throughout the hearing, focusing on the lack of evidence of a “conspiracy” against Elliott, which the NFLPA alleged in its initial filings; the idea of irreparable harm to Elliott if he were to be suspended; and the NFL’s barring the testimony of lead investigator Kia Roberts, who said she did not find Elliott’s accuser credible and would not have recommended a suspension. 

It appears she found the NFL’s arguments more credible, and thus allowed the suspension, which was initially handed down in August. In particular, Judge Failla said that the NFL obtaining the “benefit of its bargain” under the CBA outweighed any harm that would be suffered by Elliott were he to be suspended. 

The decision is also bad news for players that might be suspended in the future, just as was the case when the Brady appeal reached its ultimate conclusion. 

Elliott appealed his initial suspension prior to the start of the season, but it was upheld by the designated arbitrator, Harold Henderson, who was appointed by Roger Goodell. Henderson did not require Elliott’s accuser to testify at the appeal hearing, nor did he require Goodell to testify. He also did not require the NFLPA be given access to investigators’ notes. Elliott appealed that arbitration award and was allowed to play in Week 1 when he won a preliminary injunction

At the time, it seemed like he’d be able to play the entire season while the matter was sorted out in court. But the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacated Elliott’s preliminary injunction on Oct. 12. In response, Elliott filed another request for a temporary restraining order, which was granted on Oct. 17. That TRO allowed Elliott to play in the Cowboys’ past two games while the court waited for Judge Faillo, who had been assigned the case, to return from a scheduled vacation. 

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