After multiple back-and-forth rounds of legal battle, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is finally biting the bullet. He has dropped all of his legal appeals over the six-game suspension imposed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and will serve the remainder of the punishment.
But he’s not going quietly.
In a statement released by the NFL Players Association on behalf of Elliott, the union blasted the NFL for imposing an “awful” system of inappropriate justice.
On behalf of all players, the Union appealed the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott to its logical conclusion and we are withdrawing our lawsuit.
Our vigilant fight on behalf of Ezekiel once again exposed the NFL’s disciplinary process as a sham and a lie. They hired several former federal prosecutors, brought in “experts” and imposed a process with the stated goal of “getting it right,” yet the management council refuses to step in and stop repeated manipulation of an already awful League-imposed system.
A different statement from Elliott’s agents echoed the one from the NFLPA:
“This decision is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing, and Mr. Elliott is pleased that the legal fight mounted by he and his team resulted in disclosing many hidden truths regarding this matter as well as publicly exposing the NFL’s mismanagement of its disciplinary process,” the statement reads, in part.
The NFL, on the other hand, were not content to accept their victory and added a sharp barb of their own.
“His decision speaks for itself,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said according to Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY Sports.
Elliott won’t be eligible to return until Week 16, as the 5-4 Cowboys struggle to hang on to their playoff hopes. Losing one of the best running backs in the league for a third of the season isn’t going to help.