La’el Collins suspension: Cowboys starter files lawsuit against NFL to end 5-game suspension

La’el Collins is determined not to fall without a fight. The Dallas Cowboys starting right tackle was suspended in September for five games after the league ruled he violated drug addiction policy, but that was just the first thread in what has now become a stack. accusations thrown back and forth. Having already seen his first appeal against the suspension fail, Collins has filed another and is now also taking the case to court, where he hopes for better luck.

The 28-year-old has filed a lawsuit in Collin County – where the Cowboys are headquartered in Frisco, Texas – claiming the league suspended him for failing to test for a substance that is no longer covered by the new collective agreement (2020). The move comes in response to allegations that Collins attempted to bribe the league’s drug test collector, an allegation Collins categorically denies, according to sources at CBS Sports.

The case will be settled in court, but apparently not in Collin County, as the lawsuit has now been sent to federal court for resolution, as the legal analyst noted. Darren heitner. The league released a statement about it this week, but it’s a statement that ignores Collins’ efforts for a canceled / reduced suspension.

“This lawsuit is without merit, as two impartial NFL-NFLPA jointly appointed referees who have reviewed this have already determined,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said via ESPN. “We will seek to have this matter closed as soon as possible.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the NFL misled the referee in charge of the original appeal, claiming that Collins had already been suspended for four games for violating drug addiction policy. Collins, however, has never been suspended by the NFL before now. Initially, the league reportedly fined Collins for failed tests in early 2020 before preparing to give him a five-game suspension last November for another round of failed tests, but the NFLPA reportedly negotiated a reduction to just two games before the referee in question granted the NFL a complete five-game ban.

Further, Collins’ camp was infuriating that the league announced the five-game suspension without the case being fully resolved, a move it sees as a violation of NFL / NFLPA policy.

“For Mr. Collins, this case presents the difference between a career in the NFL and a potentially career-ruining suspension,” the lawsuit read. “The hurt he suffered couldn’t be clearer.”

It’s a similar arc to what happened with running back Ezekiel Elliott in 2017, with Elliott ultimately losing his war with the league and then serving his suspension later in the year after a series of restraining orders against the league eventually dried up and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell got his initial wish, despite a mountain of evidence that Elliott shouldn’t have been suspended. In the aftermath, owner Jerry Jones was fined $ 2 million for helping Elliott in his league defense. That is, even if Collins gets a federal restraining order, there is no guarantee that he won’t be forced into a final game later in the season.

Collins is hoping for a better result, and while Jones likely has his back in private, the Hall of Fame owner is keeping his hands on the wheel this time around – at least publicly. Additionally, the NFLPA is not listed as a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, which means Collins and his representation essentially stand alone against Goodell, the NFL and the NFL Management Council – the latter three being listed as defendants. in the case, by Daniel Wallach, legal analyst for Athleticism.

The old case with Elliott and the current case with Collins also share another connection, Wallach points out, as Judge Amos L. Mazzant was assigned to Collins’ trial. That name might ring a bell, given that it was the judge who initially granted an injunction to end Elliott’s suspension before she was later released and transferred to New York State court. , where Elliott ultimately lost his plea.

As it stands, Collins will miss the Week 5 game against the New York Giants, marking the fourth absence of his five-game suspension, and despite being cleared to return to the premises of the team to train and attend meetings, he is not allowed to on the training ground until the Cowboys begin to prepare to face the Minnesota Vikings on October 31.

But with only one more game on his five-game ban, which also means another missed play check of $ 75,000, Collins feels aggrieved and doesn’t want to wait another day to put his helmet back on, and he runs out. therefore all possible ways to do its business. He wants to come back as early as Week 6 against the New England Patriots, and it’s up to a federal judge to decide whether or not that happens.

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