Now he will probably be on the field for the rest of the season as this heads to a possible long court battle between Elliott and his lawyers from the NFL Players Association and the NFL. While in the end, Elliott may still serve his six-game suspension, ala Tom Brady in 2016, he is fully expected to play all 16 games this season for Dallas.
In addition to the domestic violence allegations, Zeke Elliott has had his fair share of other mishaps. That could mean the lawsuit will last the duration of the offseason, allowing Elliott to continue playing throughout his sophomore campaign.
With help from Friel and a panel of four advisers, including former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey, Goodell chose to suspend Elliott for six games, the recommended penalty for a player's first domestic violence suspension under the league's collective bargaining agreement.
In a 22-page order released late Friday afternoon, Judge Mazzant agreed with the union that arbitrator Henderson breached the collective-bargaining agreement when he denied Elliott the ability to cross-examine Thompson and call Goodell as a witness, each of which "was of utmost importance and extremely relevant" to the appeal.
Procedural missteps by the National Football League throughout the investigative and appeals process led Mazzant to question its fairness repeatedly during a hearing in Sherman on Tuesday, according to reports from the courtroom. The judge didn't think it was fair for Elliott to be punished with that cloud looming.
The NFL and Elliott continue to debate the facts at the heart of his case. Though the running back was never arrested or charged, Goodell believed the NFL's investigation revealed enough evidence to warrant the six-game ban. Arbitrator Harold Henderson upheld the league's decision earlier in the week, but the decision wasn't made in time to hold Elliott out of the season opener.
Either way, let us remember the league's letter to Elliott informing him of the suspension said it found "substantial and persuasive evidence" that the 6-foot, 225-pound running back engaged in violence against the 5-5, 120-pound Tiffany Thompson "on multiple occasions". "Zeke was one of the best players in the league previous year if not the best".
The NFL issued a public statement in the wake of the court's decision, reiterating its belief that "the investigation and evidence supported the Commissioner's decision and that the process was meticulous and fair throughout".