On Tuesday, Ezekiel Elliott will officially appeal his six-game suspension for alleged incidents of domestic violence deemed to have violated the league’s personal conduct policy. We already know who the designated arbitrator will be (Harold Henderson, who has heard multiple other appeals). Now, we know who will be arguing on Elliott’s behalf.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, the NFLPA is using the same attorney who represented Tom Brady in Deflategate. The entire story is worth a read, but here’s the nugget on Jeffrey Kessler:
The sources also told Yahoo Sports another significant development for Elliott: The NFLPA has once again called upon its most powerful outside attack dog, attorney Jeffrey Kessler. The sources said Kessler will be a significant part of Elliott’s appeal and the likely federal case filing that will occur next. The same Kessler who has waged war with the NFL on multiple high-profile occasions, including representing Brady in Deflategate and the last antitrust case filed against the league. His involvement is key, largely because he is one of the most versed attorneys in the United States when it comes to the NFL and attacking it on the collective bargaining front.
So, who is Kessler besides his involvement in Deflategate? In 2014, Jon Solomon wrote this feature on Kessler for CBSSports.com. In it, he described Kessler as “such a household name in professional sports legal fights that he’s described by the New York Daily News as a ‘pain in the butt to the NFL for decades,’ and no one thinks twice about the characterization.”
Here’s what Gary Roberts,who previously represented the NFL and opposed Kessler, told Solomon.
“He’s extremely bright, he’s extremely aggressive,” Roberts said. “He’s able to see things in ways that most people wouldn’t think about, which allows him to develop legal theories and ideas that are sort of outside the box. That makes him a very feared opponent if you’re on the other side.”
Still, it’ll be tough for Elliott to get his suspension lifted. For one, the NFLPA isn’t excited about Henderson. SI.com legal analyst Michael McCann wrote that Henderson is “hardly the kind of ‘neutral’ arbitrator the NFLPA would prefer hear the appeal.” It’s a sentiment that’s also echoed in Yahoo Sports’ story. And as our Ryan Wilson wrote on Monday, “it’s hard to imagine that Henderson will reinstate Elliott without…