Social issues & the extent of the NFL Commissioner’s powers: A review of Ezekiel Elliott case

Published 04 December 2017 By: Adam Banner

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Ezekiel Elliott is running back for the Dallas Cowboys. In July 2016, he was accused of assaulting a woman1. When a prosecutor decided2 conflicting evidence disclosed during the police investigation didn’t rise to the level of a prosecutable criminal offense under Ohio law, the National Football League chose to conduct its own year-long investigation into the matter.

The investigation resulted in Elliott being suspended for six games. Elliot then appealed his suspension to the NFL through arbitration and lost. Simultaneously, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), on Elliott’s behalf, sued the league in federal court3 claiming the NFL violated fundamental fairness through its league-wide disciplinary process for players. The suit relied upon the Federal Arbitration Act and Labor Management Relations Act and claims that the NFL violated both.

This article examines:

  • The wide ranging powers of the Commissioner under Article 46 of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement; and

  • Elliot’s (ultimately unsuccessful) attempts to challenge the NFL’s six-game suspension in Court.


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Adam Banner

Adam Banner

Adam R. Banner is the founder and lead attorney at the Oklahoma Legal Group, a criminal defense law firm in Oklahoma City. Mr. Banner’s practice focuses solely on state and federal criminal defense including plea negotiations, jury trials, and criminal appeals. He represents the accused against allegations of sex crimes, violent crimes, drug crimes, and white collar crimes. 

Adam R. Banner, Esq.
1900 N.W. Expressway, Ste. 603
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Office: (405) 778-4800

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