Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and the NFL Players Association believe they have identified procedural violations amidst the process of receiving the running back’s six-game suspension and his upcoming appeal hearing, sources told Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports.
The violations could open the door for Elliott to take his fight to federal court, similar to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady when he was handed down his suspension in the deflategate scandal. That would leave the chance for Elliott to delay his suspension until at least the 2018 offseason.
Elliott has suspended six games on Aug. 11 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, stemming mostly from domestic violence allegations dating back to last year while still in Columbus, Ohio. He announced shortly after that he would appeal the suspension.
Jeffrey Kessler, who represented Brady in the deflategate case, will be representing Elliott during his appeal hearing, per Yahoo Sports sources.
While the Yahoo Sports source wouldn’t delve into specifics, the NFLPA and Elliott are targeting three different violations. The first was that Roger Goodell selected former league executive Harold Henderson as the independent arbitrator presiding over Elliott’s appeal, though the union has said Henderson is not a neutral party.
Henderson then denied a request from Elliott’s camp asking his accuser, Tiffany Thompson, to appear for cross-examination during the appeal hearings. Henderson has also refused a request to make notes from Thompson’s six separate meetings with the NFL available in the hearing.
If the six-game suspension is upheld going into this season, the NFLPA and Elliott are reportedly expected to file a lawsuit against the NFL.