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The National Football League Players Association filed a temporary restraining order in Texas on Thursday, “calling for the courts to block any suspension upheld by NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson,” according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter.
In the petition, which was shared by Schefter, the NFLPA requested the state vacate any ruling Henderson makes regarding Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension appeal because it claims “the NFL and its unilaterally appointed arbitrator” are engaged in a “league-orchestrated conspiracy” to “hide critical information—which would completely exonerate Elliott.”
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
Here we go again: NFLPA vs NFL, this time over Ezekiel Elliott. https://t.co/XAoeR3FpNV
The NFL suspended Elliott for the first six games of the 2017 season after his ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, accused him of domestic violence in July 2016.
The Columbus (Ohio) City Attorney’s office later announced it would not press charges against the Dallas Cowboys running back because of “conflicting and inconsistent information,” according to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer.
However, the NFL was still free to pursue disciplinary action against Elliott under the terms of its personal conduct policy.
Following a 13-month investigation, the league said it “found substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016.”
On Thursday, ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano cited a source who said the NFLPA “believes it has a strong case for challenging Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension based on what it perceives as serious flaws in the NFL’s investigative process.”
A source also told Graziano NFL director of investigations Kia Wright Roberts—who testified she was the only member of the investigative committee to interview Thompson—recommended no suspension for Elliott and disclosed this information to Henderson during the appeal hearing.
According to the Star-Telegram‘s Clarence E. Hill Jr., “Roberts’ recommendation never made it into the NFL’s final report or the official suspension letter on Aug. 11, which cited the league’s findings of three instances of domestic violence by Elliott against Thompson based on the victim’s testimony and photographic evidence.”
Schefter and Graziano added that after Elliott’s appeal hearing ended Thursday, the league put Henderson under pressure to make a final ruling by Monday.