Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott can be suspended by the NFL after a federal appeals court on Thursday cleared the way. In a statement, the NFL said that the suspension will be reinstated, effective immediately.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans issued a 2-1 ruling to vacate a preliminary injunction that was issued to the NFL Players’ Association by a judge in September, Fox News reported.
Elliott’s suspension is effective immediately and will last six games. He can return to the team on Friday, Nov. 24.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Elliott after the league said that he was involved in several physical confrontations last summer with his former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, although Ohio prosecutors didn’t pursue the case. They said that there was conflicting evidence.
“Earlier today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the preliminary injunction that prohibited the league from imposing the six-game suspension issued to Ezekiel Elliott for a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy,” the league wrote in a statement on Thursday, NFL.com reported.
“The Court also directed the district court to dismiss the union’s lawsuit which was filed on Elliott’s behalf. As a result, Elliott’s suspension will begin effective immediately. Elliott is eligible to return to the team on Friday, November 24 following the Cowboys’ Thursday, November 23 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.”
A lawyer representing Elliott, the league’s leader in rushing yards last season, said that he’s “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.”
He issued no further comment on the ruling.
According to NFL.com, the NFL Player’s Association will re-file the case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to get a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to keep the running back playing.
Elliott, 22, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. The NFL, however, said that he used “physical force” three times over five days in an apartment that left injuries on Thompson’s face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, hips, and knees, Fox reported.