Ezekiel Elliott

Five weeks into the 2017 NFL season, Ezekiel Elliott is having a good year on the field, but not nearly as remarkable as his rookie campaign.

Over the first five games, the running back has rushed for 393 yards and two touchdowns. Those could also be Elliott’s stats after 11 weeks, because the 5th Circuit Court has sided with the NFL and reinstated Elliott’s six-game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy.

The whole process leading up to this has been absolutely ridiculous. On August 11th, the NFL handed Elliott a six game suspension based on domestic violence accusations levied against him in 2016. On August 16th, the running back announced he would appeal the decision. A couple weeks later on September 6th, the suspension was upheld by an NFL-appointed arbitrator. Two days after that, the NFLPA requested an injunction that was upheld by a federal judge that delayed the suspension.

That delay ended today when the 5th Circuit sided with the league and reinstated Elliott’s suspension.

However, this whole process still isn’t over.

Doesn’t the United States federal court system have better things to do than rule on a domestic violence case in the NFL? Also, if Elliott and the NFL had just agreed to a shorter suspension in the first place, his suspension would have already been served and it would be behind him.

This is dragging on for far too long. I’m not taking sides in either scenario, but why does this need to play out this way? Why did Tom Brady’s suspension fight need to play out the way it did with the QB serving the suspension a whole year later? At this rate, maybe Elliott will retire before this current suspension battle is over.

In baseball, the process is simple, Major League Baseball hands down a suspension, the player appeals with the help of the MLBPA, an independent arbitrator rules, and that’s that. But the NFL feels the need to go a billion steps further and cause massive headaches.

That’s what makes this whole thing worse when you compare how the two sports handle situations like this. In baseball, one could argue the approach Elliott is using may make more sense because there are 162 games, giving the players more time to play and more games to play in.

In football, would you really want to be on a team where one court battle between a teammate and the NFL casts a shadow over potentially 11 weeks of your 17 week season? Because that’s what is happening in Dallas right now. Elliott’s battle with the NFL started during the preseason, causing issues during the Cowboys’ training camp. And now the same can be said except during the regular season.

Not to mention, the NFC East is off to a rough start now and the Cowboys should probably focus on the possibility of winning the division or grabbing a Wild Card. While they do that, maybe the NFLPA should intervene and do its job.

In a way, the NFLPA is making this whole situation worse by letting Elliott drag this thing out as long as it has. By getting the courts involved, especially one in New York, it could cause more headaches for Elliott and the Cowboys as he could be away from the team for days at a time. Even if the suspension doesn’t take effect for lets say three more weeks, Elliott will most likely miss practices and cause issues with the team simply because of how long this is dragging on.

This could all be solved if the NFL, NFLPA, and Elliott all sat at a table and agreed on a shorter suspension or some other kind of punishment. But instead, this thing is dragging on longer than it needs to and is involving a court system that should probably be focusing on more pressing issues instead.

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.