Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott scores on a 55-yard touchdown against the Detroit Lions during their game last season. Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo
The NFL Players Association filed a request in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Thursday to block any suspension upheld by arbitrator Harold Henderson involving Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Elliott is appealing a six-game suspension for domestic violence. The punishment was issued by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Aug. 11 after an investigation revealed Elliott allegedly assaulted Tiffany Thompson, who said she was Elliott's girlfriend.
Also, an NFL source told Yahoo Sports that Kia Wright Roberts, a lead NFL investigator in the probe, produced an internal memo in which she had issues with Thompson's credibility.
Inconsistent statements from Thompson resulted in Roberts recommending that Elliott receive no suspension, according to Yahoo and ESPN. Roberts, the NFL director of investigations who was the only one to conduct interviews with Thompson, also reportedly testified before Henderson that she wasn't asked to attend a meeting with NFL senior vice president of investigations Lisa Friel and Goodell.
During that meeting, Friel recommended that Elliott, who was not charged or arrested, receive a six-game ban.
Friel testified that she was aware of Roberts' concerns and also confirmed that Roberts was not asked to attend the meeting.
In the court filing, the NFLPA maintained that "there was a league-orchestrated conspiracy by senior NFL executives ... to hide critical information which would completely exonerate Elliott."
The NFLPA also said Henderson denied attempts by Elliott's attorneys to have Thompson testify.
Elliott's three-day appeal before Henderson ended Thursday. A ruling is expected by Monday.
If Henderson rules that Elliott should be suspended for any amount of games, the court could stay the suspension while it reviews the situation with Elliott potentially playing while the case works its way through the courts.
Yahoo Sports also reported that if Elliott loses his appeal, the NFL could face a fight in federal court because of possible collective-bargaining violations.
The NFLPA also said "without testimony from the commissioner, it was not possible to determine the full impact of the conspiracy, or precisely what the commissioner knew or did not know about his co-lead investigator's conclusion that there was not sufficient credible evidence to proceed with any discipline under a League Personal Conduct Policy."
Elliott, the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft, led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards during his rookie season.