Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal of his suspension has been heard and the decision has been announced. Arbitrator Harold Henderson ruled that the six-game suspension will stay in place. So that means he’s out for Week One, right? Ehhhhh, let’s not get into that just yet.
Actually, he is available Week One. He’s suspended for six games, but he’s still eligible for Week One. Wait, what? Because of the timing of the appeal and the decision, Elliott will still be allowed to play in the season opener against the Giants on Sunday night. Right, because that makes sense.
Apparently on some level it does. Take a seat because it’s about to get a little confusing. You ready for this? The NFL Players Association filed a motion last week for a temporary restraining order to block the league’s six game suspension. At the same time, Elliott was appealing the suspension. The suspension was upheld yesterday, but also yesterday, there was a hearing on that restraining order and the results are expected Friday, but in the meantime, the league announced that Elliott will be eligible to play, even if the restraining order is denied.
So to recap: Elliott is still suspended, but he’s eligible right now. And the players association has filed a restraining order to block the suspension, but the league has said even if the restraining order to block the suspension is blocked, they’ll still honor it and let him play on Sunday.
So what does it all mean? Elliott will play Sunday night against the Giants and then who knows? If the judge denies his restraining order against the league, he would be expected to serve his suspension in Games 2 through 7, but Elliott’s team has indicated that he would also sue the league during the suspension. And if the judge allows the restraining order? Then the expectation is that the suspension would be delayed, Elliott would keep playing, and would still sue the league.
In other words, this isn’t over yet. And might not even be close to being over. Fantastic. Because that’s just what the league needs – another long-running discipline saga with one set of lawsuits after another where you have to be at least a second-year law student to figure out what exactly is happening.
We’ve been down this road before with deflated footballs and now we’re heading down it with much more serious issues… There are no jokes to be had here. No zingers about deflated balls or a guy who lost a lot of weight being nicknamed the Deflator. This is just bad. And no matter what happens, there are no winners.