FRISCO, Texas — A federal appeals court cleared the way Thursday for the NFL to impose a six-game suspension on Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott over domestic violence allegations, siding with the league in the latest high-profile fight over its ability to punish players for off-field behavior.
In a 2-1 decision, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in New Orleans granted the league’s emergency request to set aside an injunction and ordered a district court in Texas to dismiss Elliott’s case.
The NFL announced that the suspension was effective immediately, though further appeals were possible and the Cowboys are not playing this weekend.
“We are currently exploring all of our legal options and will make a decision as to what is the best course of action in the next few days,” Elliott’s attorney Frank Salzano said.
The Cowboys don’t play again until Sunday, Oct. 22, at San Francisco. If Elliott’s legal team can’t put the suspension on hold again, he would miss the 49ers game, plus games against the? Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers. He would be eligible to play again on Nov. 30 at home against Washington, a Thursday night game the week after Thanksgiving.?
Elliott played the first five games while the case was in the courts. He rushed for?393 yards on?105 carries, an average of just?3.7 yards. He led the NFL with?1,631 rushing yards last season as a rookie.
A federal judge in Texas issued the injunction blocking the suspension last month, agreeing with NFL Players Association attorneys who argued that the investigation of the allegations in Ohio and a subsequent appeal were unfair to Elliott, one of the league’s standout running backs.
The NFL countered that it followed procedures under the league’s labor deal and that the union improperly filed a lawsuit before the appeals process was complete.
“The NFLPA is reviewing the decision and considering all options,” the…