Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Sep 2017

Temporary Restraining Order Means Elliott Likely to Play All Season

Ugh, the Ezekiel Elliott situation is so damn confusing. So, apparently Elliott's suspension has been held up by arbitrator Harold Henderson. However, because Henderson didn't make the announcement until Tuesday afternoon, the NFL decided to make Elliott eligible to play against the Giants in Week 1. As of now, Elliott will serve his suspension from Week 2 to Week 8 instead... unless he gets a decision for a temporary restraining order. An announcement on that may not be coming until Friday, so have fun figuring out where to take him in your fantasy drafts.

UPDATE: Well, well, well. United States District Court Judge Amos Mazzant ruled Friday in favor of Elliott, granting him a preliminary injunction against the NFL. He called the NFL investigation "fundamentally unfair." This probably means Elliott will play the entire 2017 season. His appeal could be denied in November, but probably this all lasts into 2018. Which means he could be suspended in 2018. Or not at all. What a mess.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 08 Sep 2017

45 comments, Last at 14 Sep 2017, 11:27am by Will Allen

Comments

1
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 1:02am

Unless movie studios and record companies start suspending entertainers for criminal behavior, or just alleged criminal behavior, I'm starting to think it would be preferable for the NFL to restrct their disciplinary process to stuff that affects the outcomes of games.I still see why they take the path they do, but, man, it sure is tedious.

2
by deus01 :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 9:33am

If only there were an existing process outside of the NFL for evaluating evidence and determining if someone committed a crime.

3
by ChrisLong :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:32am

Yeah, I don't seem to remember a right to trial by Goodell being enumerated in the Constitution.

7
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:51am

Look, I'd be fine with not suspending players at all for behavior that has nothing to do with the games. I have no warmm and fuzzy feelings about the entertainers I choose to watch. I don't care that Roman Polanski movies are watched in this country, I still enjoy hearing Bowie, even though I now know he was a statutory rapist. Dr. Dre beat women, and I dont think record companies should have stopped selling his stuff. I wish all 3 had gone to prison, however.

Having said all that, there isn't anything unethical about the NFL making cold blooded business decisions about what serves their interests best, consistent with their CBA, and antitrust law. I do find it all tedious, however.

4
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:35am

Unfortunately for the NFL, that process is deemed inadequate sometimes by the corporate sponsors who pay a lot of money to have their logo appear with the logos of the NFL and NFL teams. The Peterson case was the clearest evidence of this, when, before the matter was adjudicated, Radisson Hotels pulled their sponsorship deal with the Vikings, because they didn't want their brand to be within 1000 miles of any story pertaining to child abuse. That's what drives all of this disciplinary process surrounding alleged criminal behavior.

6
by deus01 :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:51am

Yeah, I kind of understand that but if something is criminal then it should be handled by the existing criminal system. If a player commits a crime I want them to be subject to the same standards of evidence and punishments as anyone else. I don't care if the NFL applies it's arbitrary justice. If sponsors want to pull deals with existing teams because they hire criminals then that's an issue that the individual teams can deal with rather than the NFL.

9
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 11:01am

Damned cell phone

10
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 11:02am

Damned cell phone

8
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 11:00am

Well, we hand down monetary punishments all the time in this society, which is what we are talking about here, via a much lower standard of evidence than that which applies in the criminal justice system.

Ethically speaking, I'm ok with the cartel running their business as they see fit, consistent with the law and the CBA, even though I personally find it tedious. I was irritated with Goodell in the Peterson case because he made several promises in writing, with regard to how the league would handle the matter, which he broke, once he realized he had misjudged how the public and corporate world would react.

11
by deus01 :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 11:05am

Sure, I don't really disagree that the NFL should be able to also have punishments, they just do such a terrible job handling every case (and punish things like smoking pot which is legal in several places more harshly than domestic violence) that I'd rather they not bother.

12
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 11:08am

Pretty much agree, but, tragically, I'm not a large income stream to the NFL.

14
by deus01 :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 11:43am

It's a problem that most of us are afflicted with.

20
by Rhys :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 3:09pm

The only reason the NFL has a legal monopoly and a cartel is Congress. IMO that should take a lot of these types of decisions that they normally would be allowed to make out of their hands. A state approved monopoly shouldn't be allowed to run Kangaroo courts. If they want absolute power then they should have to deal with competition.

21
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 3:19pm

Eh, the antitrust exemption the NFL enjoys pertains very narrowly to negotiatng t.v. contracts collectively. The player discipline stuff is the result of a CBA, and the existence of a CBA in any industry renders elements of antitrust moot.

44
by Pkeynufu83 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:57pm

The reason why the NFL gets to sign that CBA is that they are a monopoly.

Try negotiating that agrrement if that wasn't the case.

In my opinion, if you are to enjoy a legal monopoly, you should behave better than the NFL has.

It annoys me how they justify everything with market ressons while enjoying monopoly exceptions.

45
by Will Allen :: Thu, 09/14/2017 - 11:27am

I have no idea what your first sentence means.

23
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 3:40pm

Are you sure it's not because they realized they were sponsoring the Vikings?

25
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 4:01pm

All kidding aside, Radisson's parent company has maintained their sponsorship deal pertaining to luxury suites. The Radisson deal pertaining to the logo appearing on camera during press conferences was replaced by Pepsi. Presumably, the next time a Viking player is accused of a heinous crime, the geniuses in the Vikings PR dept. won't have the Pepsi logo up, as the alleged crime is discussed.

27
by morganja :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 6:47pm

Well, we can be assured the Vikings offensive line won't be accused of hitting anyone. ZING!

30
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 09/07/2017 - 8:43am

In retrospect, I apologize for not making a Carnival Cruise lines joke instead.

\You've got to give me this, I'm a Lions "fan"
\\There are only so many franchises I can throw shade at

5
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:50am

it sucks. wish league didnt have to decide Elliott suspension btu people will picket, sponsors will pull out if league doesn't handle this stuff. then non-nfl fans could say, "oooh look at that caveman sport football thye let guys punch ladies and kick animals and bring guns into airports."

tnhen we have people politicking to get c. kaepernick in league. more nonsense. just as he has right to wear socks with cops looking like pigs on them and making demonstrations during national anthem, owners have right to not sign him. but yet we have people picketing abtou it.

gets sickening after a whiel. just want to watch sports and not hear about this one sat for the National Anthem, this would picked his toes during National Abntghem, this one touched this one;'s shoulders during National anthem. this guy punched his girlfriend how logn should nfl suspend him. let's spend 5 months debating this and weasting time and money

13
by ChrisS :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 11:24am

Delete

15
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:21pm

cannot. pos t already made. I cannot even edit it anymore. can only reply to it

16
by ChrisS :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:34pm

No. I deleted my comment, I am not telling you to delete yours

18
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 1:09pm

oh, okay

22
by Steve in WI :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 3:21pm

I've always felt like suspending a player for off-the-field actions is illogical. Either you are okay with employing him or you are not. Suspending a player for domestic violence says "I think domestic violence is bad, but only bad enough that you should have to sit out X games, then we'll welcome you back." I would argue that it mainly provides cover for teams to say that they care about domestic violence (or any other criminal behavior) while still benefiting from the player's skills.

Is there any other job where an employee would be suspended (not fired) for something unrelated to the job itself?

24
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 3:44pm

An ESPN sports radio guy was just suspended a week for getting drunk, and going to bed in the wrong hotel room (door was unlocked).

Again, I find it all tedious, but public relations, and managing public perception, and the public's response, is not an endeavor closely associated with logic, because humans aren't logic machines.

26
by Eddo :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 4:28pm

It's tough to say. I can fabricate some examples, but the big factor here is that "professional athlete" accounts for the <1% of all jobs where the person is a public figure, so it's really hard to answer "is there another job where ______" meaningfully.

Will Allen noted another profession that is in the public eye - broadcaster/journalist - where there have been suspensions without termination.

31
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 09/07/2017 - 8:45am

Actor under the studio system.

Less applicable since that was broken up, though. Now they're basically contractors.

40
by Duke :: Sat, 09/09/2017 - 5:36pm

I may be wrong or naive. But I kind of feel like it all goes back to weed.

I remember when the Ray Rice stuff came out (which was when this really started to blow up as I recall), one thing that really struck a chord was the Josh Gordon year-long suspension, which I believe had been put out a week or two before. So you had a lot of people yelling "oh you'll suspend a guy a year for smoking weed but less if he hits a woman?"

And the thing is, the NFL doesn't take an impassive stance towards marijuana. They specifically drug test for it (I think, right?). And I think you would have a hard time making the case that they need to do so for competitive balance or player safety like you might with steroid testing. So the league, by mandating drug testing, is specifically taking investigative action into players life to ensure that they will get punished for breaking the law (or the league's rules). And if you've already established that you're willing to investigate your players, then are you not just negotiating over what you find moral?

(I realize that its harder to determine if someone is, say, a domestic abuser than it is to determine if they consume drugs, but the principle still works, I think)

I dunno. I feel like if the league hadn't been going full-bore on punishing drug use for years, it would have had an easier time sticking with the "we will let the criminal justice system handle this matter" approach.

43
by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:38pm

I think you're on to something with this idea.

Their "zero tolerance" policy on weed looks even stupider as more and more states legalize recreational weed. And besides the fact that it's not performance-enhancing, we know that somewhere near 2/3 of the league plays high on prescription opiates every Sunday, and you or I will never know which on-field game-changing blunders happen as a direct result of a player not thinking clearly due to the pills. Allowing players to smoke pot instead (where legal) could improve the on-field product.

42
by Pen :: Sun, 09/10/2017 - 10:45pm

I can think of some refs in Green Bay eligible for suspension.

17
by Bucs_Rule :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:38pm

This might have been the NFL's plan all along. Suspend him for the domestic policy of 6 game suspension, but have some way to justify him playing in week 1 nationally televised game.

This explains the very long time it took for the NFL to hand out a punishment.

35
by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:51pm

A better plan would be to just make that game NOT NATIONALLY TELEVISED! Then we wouldn't be subjected to another Aikman-called Cowbots game, every one of which is bullshit.

38
by t.d. :: Sat, 09/09/2017 - 12:01am

that game will be michaels-collinsworth (or tirico-collinsworth). the nfl seems to like dallas-nyg on snf in week 1, feels like it's been the matchup very often in the last few years

19
by PatsFan :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 2:35pm

I expect this will turn out similarly to the Brady case. District court judge will enjoin the suspension and then void it (reports are that he sounded very skeptical of the NFL's side) and it will be appealed (Fifth Circuit covers Dallas?), but the appeals process will take months so Elliot will end up playing the entire season, and then the Fifth Circuit will overturn the lower circuit and Elliot will serve the suspension next season.

28
by Alternator :: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 7:19pm

I'm happy for Elliot, because as much as he's clearly an idiot (example: allowing himself to be baited into pulling down somebody's shirt) that doesn't mean he's a criminal, but the NFL has used its high profile to brand him as one.

However, anything karmic that happens to Jerry Jones is fine by me.

32
by Daniel2772 :: Thu, 09/07/2017 - 9:30am

Pulling down an unsuspecting woman's top in public is criminal, regardless of who told him to do it.

33
by Eddo :: Thu, 09/07/2017 - 10:53am

Yeah... "baited"? Come on. I'm disappointed the league didn't give him a suspension for that (it's on video, too, so the "investigation" should be pretty straightforward).

39
by t.d. :: Sat, 09/09/2017 - 12:04am

if it wasn't on video we wouldn't have heard about it, it was a bunch of friends fooling around (and the woman involved didn't have a problem with it)

29
by RobotBoy :: Thu, 09/07/2017 - 8:00am

Sadly, the vast differences in how justice is applied doesn't exactly fill me with optimism about the operation of the legal system. If you're rich, you can basically get away with murder. If you're African American, you're almost certain to receive a stiffer penalty than if you're white (Being African American and wealthy is more complex. As the great heavyweight Larry Holmes once said, 'It's hard being black. You ever been black? I was black once - when I was poor.' Yet even if you're a millionaire, a nervous, poorly trained cop can't see your platinum card).
Lest we forget, rape was almost impossible to prosecute well into the 1980s and 'date rape' was just a bad date.
I assume Raider Joe's comment is meant ironically as it points to an interesting contradiction in the attitudes of many fans - they're angry about the league punishing their team's players outside the legal system but they have no problem with the league blackballing Kap because, well, the owners can do what they want with their business.

34
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 09/07/2017 - 12:12pm

well, will explain ti more. if guy I like does something bad, i am nto crying if he gets suspended. my issue is hwo drawn out this stuiff gets. ellioott thing no sign of en ding anytime soon because he won't take ghis suspension like a man and movbe on. maybne with good reason,- maybe he didn't kay a finger on the woman. he probably did though. so my anger (nto sure I actually have any) is directed at e. Elliott ghere.

now league has this ruling where he gets to play this week but then suspension will start week 2. what the hell is that about? now league looks like bunch of morons.

36
by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:55pm

Well they actually ARE a bunch of morons. Why so surprised they finally look the part?

41
by ChicagoRaider :: Sun, 09/10/2017 - 10:52am

The reason this drags out is the the NFL procedures for punishing players look like a kangaroo court when a federal judge takes a look at them. If the NFL had procedures that were obviously fair, players would not be winning preliminary injunctions. If the NFL is telling itself it will win on appeal (and it may well) it is still making a choice to keep the current system and drag the process out.

I am not sure if the issue goes away if the process works fast. The player is still there, and he is likely going to stay in the league after the rapidly-delivered punishment.

37
by mathesond :: Fri, 09/08/2017 - 6:57pm

Injunction granted, the suspension has been suspended...