Alright, Cowboys Nation. Let’s all take a deep inhale in, and slowly exhale. Ezekiel Elliott is set to testify before arbiter Harold Henderson at his appeal hearing today.
It’s been quite the ride getting to this point, and some say the road doesn’t look to be any smoother Clarence E. Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said that it is “unlikely” Henderson will vacate the six-game suspension. Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports agreed, reporting Monday that those close to Elliott believe he will lose the appeal because Henderson did not require Elliott’s accuser, ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson, available for cross-examination. Should he lose the appeal, there’s talk of his team pursuing the case in federal court.
Who is Harold Henderson?
He’s a former chairman of the NFL’s management council executive committee. He was the arbiter for former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy’s appeal hearing, in which he reduced the 10-game punishment to four. Henderson also handled then-Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s appeal in 2014, but upheld the star’s indefinite suspension for child abuse.
News broke that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed Henderson to Elliott’s hearing on August 16. If you recall, that was the same day as the epic twitter showdown between the NFL and the NFLPA. Among other things regarding Elliott’s case, the NFLPA believes that Henderson isn’t a true independent arbiter thanks to his league affiliation.
Meanwhile, Jerry Jones gave Henderson glowing reviews and expressed his support for the arbiter:
“Harold is a really great friend of mine. He was at my party and so you weren’t at that party unless you were a good friend I promise you that,” Jones said. “But he is a friend and of course that’s the way it would be. He managed the management council for maybe 15 years. I served on it. He’s very competent, but the main thing is he’s a guy that I admire a lot. Former policeman. Former attorney. He’s come through it the hard way. Literally.”
Jones will not be present at the hearing, but Cowboys legal counsel will be there. He has backed Elliott since the beginning. Time will tell if Jones’ arbiter “friend” shares the same sentiments.
Take another deep inhale in and slowly exhale. Now, we wait.
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