The NFL Players Association preemptively sued the NFL in federal court late Thursday, seeking to vacate the NFL's suspension of Ezekiel Elliott if it's upheld by Harold Henderson, the former league executive appointed to hear Elliott's suspension appeal.
The Star-Telegram cited a league source in reporting that during Elliott's multiday appeal hearing before Henderson, testimony emerged that Friel barred Roberts from joining the panel but was on it herself, and that Friel recommended to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that Elliott be given the six-game suspension.
The union will attempt to persuade a court to agree that Goodell's suspension of Elliott can't stand, even if Henderson backs it.
After she finished her part of the investigation, Roberts apparently made it clear that she didn't think Elliot should be banned because she believed Thompson "was not credible in her allegations of abuse", according to the petition.
"As such, not only was Elliott denied the most fundamental rights to be able to confront his accuser and to have her credibility assessed against his, the arbitrator also rendered himself incapable of directly assessing the credibility of Thompson - which was critical to the fairness of the proceeding", the NFLPA wrote.
However, according to TMZ, the National Football League still went against Roberts' recommendation of no suspension. It claims a sordid case of conspiracy on the NFL's behalf to ignore evidence that would exonerate Elliott. The short answer is that Elliott is looking to avoid a suspension altogether. Roberts was not available to share her recommendation that Elliott not be suspended. That may no longer be the case, as ESPN's Adam Schefter said Thursday Henderson will be expected to announce his ruling by Monday. "The credibility issues were addressed at length in the investigative report". The court would be asked to consider the "unfair processes" during the stay, allowing Elliott to play while matters were resolved in court. "It is the commissioner and the commissioner's sole role to decide on discipline".
The Cowboys open their season at home against the New York Giants this weekend, and as of now it could be a coin flip if they have their starting back for that game. Although the 2016 season's rushing leader denied all claims regarding the incident, Henderson must thoroughly assess both sides of the case before coming to a decision, and not be too pressured by the added weight of expectations coming from such a prolific player and the franchise he plays for.