From the “It never hurts to ask” file, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott asked the NFL for a “truly” independent arbitrator to hear his appeal.
You already know what the answer was.
Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Elliott’s request, as he gets prepared for Tuesday’s appeal of his six-game suspension. The NFL said no, invoking Article 46 of the league’s collective-bargaining agreement that gives NFL commissioner Roger Goodell the authority to hear the appeal himself or appoint someone. The NFL appointed Harold Henderson, a former league executive who has heard many NFL appeals before.
It’s understandable why players don’t see him as impartial. According to the Star-Telegram, two decisions by Henderson already make Elliott’s appeal seem to be an uphill battle: He denied a request to make the woman who accused Elliott of domestic violence available to testify at the appeals hearing, and he denied requests for notes or transcripts from the NFL’s meetings with Elliott’s accuser.
On the surface, it’s hard to see the suspension being reduced. The NFL spent a long time investigating the matter, was thorough and detailed in its explanation to Elliott, and walking back a six-game suspension for domestic violence with no new evidence would be a bad look. And the NFL is very aware of how its punishments in cases like this will be perceived publicly.
Elliott is expected to miss at least a couple days of practice for the appeal hearing (he isn’t expected to play in the fourth preseason game anyway on Thursday). If he doesn’t win the appeal, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson has previously reported that Elliott would consider taking the battle to court. Maybe that could stall the suspension a bit.
That Elliott asked for a “truly” independent arbitrator might indicate he doesn’t like his chances of arguing his case before Henderson. If the appeal doesn’t work, then we’ll find out what Elliott’s next move is.
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