The NFL has also filed a motion in Mazzant’s federal court in Texas to change the jurisdiction to a New York City federal court that has historically leaned toward the league’s perspective.
The appeals process and the federal lawsuit aren’t trying to establish guilt or innocence. Carolina Panthers was never charged with a crime. These processes simply seek to establish whether or not the NFL acted in a manner that is consistent with its personal conduct policy. Mazzant doesn’t believe it did.
“The NFL’s actions demonstrate that from the very beginning of the decision-making process, a cloud of fundamental unfairness followed Elliott,” Mazzant wrote in his decision. “Unfortunately, this cloud followed Elliott into the arbitration proceedings.”
It’s difficult to project how the appeals court will rule, but the NFL will file an emergency stay with the appeals court if Mazzant declines the appeal or does not deliver a rule by Thursday.
The league is seeking a quick decision for a process that often takes months:
Elliott’s legal team issued a response shortly thereafter, via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“The NFL’s latest maneuvering appears to be indicative of a league with an agenda: trying to navigate a public relations crisis rather than focus on fairness and fact finding,” the statement read.
What happened? Elliott was handed the suspension following an investigation into domestic violence allegations made against him in July 2016. The investigation lasted more than a year, and Elliott immediately appealed the disciplinary ruling.