Just when you thought that the Ezekiel Elliott suspension case was dying down, the flames have flared again with talk of a settlement making it’s way across the Twitter verse this morning. And I know this case is a little hard to follow, so before we jump into the most recent development of the case let’s recap what has brought us to today’s developments.
- August 11th – news breaks that after a lengthy investigation Elliott is suspended 6 games for what the NFL called a personal conduct policy violation.
- 3 days later Elliott appeals his suspension.
- September 8th – Federal Judge Amos Mazzant grants Elliott an injunction against the suspension stating that Elliott did not get a fair hearing, while also granting Elliott’s petition for a temporary restraining order.
- October 12th – United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reinstates Elliott’s suspension because the court believed that Elliott filed his case too soon.
- October 17th – Judge Paul Crotty of the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York grants Elliott a temporary restraining order, thus allowing him to keep playing for the foreseeable future.
Which brings us to Thursday October 19th when news began popping across Twitter that the NFL and Elliott were discussing a possible settlement to finally put this whole fiasco behind them and as some have said on social media would be “mutually beneficial to both parties”. But that kind of settlement is not possible, the league won’t accept Elliott serving anything less than 2 games for his wrongdoings and if Elliott wanted to take the reduced suspension that would only further the thought that the NFL is soft on the big issues like domestic violence and other crimes against females.
So why would either party even entertain the idea of a settlement? Well Goodell wants to end this mess because it’s been dominating the headlines for too long and to be honest Jerry Jones is probably holding his contract extension over his head to quickly and quietly end the whole mess.
But even taking out the whole Goodell contract line of thought out of the equation, the league can’t afford to take anything less than the original six games. After the whole Ray Rice and even Greg Hardy situations, the league now has the image of being soft on domestic violence. So while Elliott wasn’t formally charged with domestic violence, his previous actions on St. Patrick’s Day and the allegations of assault while at Ohio State don’t bode well for the league when it comes to dealing with Elliott. Yes, he has talent, but the league is trying to send a message that while Elliott has talent that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t learn the error in his ways and get his act together (while also sending the message that they are taking a stand against any kind of crime).
I want to also point out that the NFL Players Association keeps finding themselves in these lengthy legal battles because they failed to make sure that the current collective bargaining agreement contained language on dealing with player punishments. Goodell has very right within the CBA to be the judge, jury, and punishment giver for any type of player infraction. So really, if I’m Elliott I’m mad at the NFLPA for not ensuring that the player’s were covered with an impartial disciplinarian doling out punishments for conduct violations.
While I would love nothing more than to put this whole mess behind me and focus on what’s actually important in football like what’s going on in New England and how the Packers are going to fare without Aaron Rodgers, I know that this drama is far from over. Neither side is going to concede and the case will drag out much like Deflategate did and Elliott will not serve his suspension (if he even gets one) until the 2018-19 season.