Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is reportedly “leaving the country for an undisclosed location to clear his head and train,” according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Elliott’s request for an injunction Thursday, meaning he will begin serving his six-game suspension this week. Elliott will have to serve at least four games of that suspension before his next hearing Dec. 1.
Elliott’s former girlfriend accused him of domestic abuse in July 2016, though he wasn’t arrested or charged with a crime. The NFL said it found conclusive evidence of assault in August 2017, however, suspending him six games for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.
He was initially awarded an injunction by a district court in Sherman, Texas, allowing him to continue playing while his lawsuit against the league was resolved. That injunction was overturned by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this past week, however, forcing him to serve the suspension immediately. Elliott has maintained his innocence and will continue his complaint against the NFL in the courts.
“This is bigger than a suspension,” he said last week, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. “It’s bigger than football. It’s them trying to make me something I’m not. I’m not an abuser. That’s not who I am. This is my name, and this is my reputation. That’s something that I have to live with beyond football, so every day is worth fighting for.”
The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association allows for Commissioner Roger Goodell to deal out punishment for infractions. It’s unlikely Elliott will win his complaint against the NFL, much like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ultimately lost his appeal against the league following the Deflategate saga.