The NFL’s investigation into Ezekiel Elliott’s domestic violence allegations had been going on so long it was hard to believe that it was ever going to end. But it did on Friday, with the announcement that Elliott will be suspended for six games. That’s a stunner to a team coming off a 13-win season, but if your first reaction is what Elliott allegedly beating a woman on multiple occasions means for the Cowboys backfield and your fantasy football draft, I strongly suggest you sit this one out.
On the one hand, six games is following the league’s policy for domestic violence. Yet other players, like Josh Brown, have received less…much less than that for domestic violence incidents, so it was always a crapshoot to try to predict how the league would respond to Elliott’s situation.
And what they did was drop a serious punishment one of the league’s brightest young stars, the biggest team in the league, and one of the most powerful owners in the league. Especially given that said owner spent month after month telling everyone this was a non-issue.
Back in March, Jerry Jones said, “There is just nothing.” During the Hall of Fame game, he said, “the domestic violence is not an issue” and that he didn’t anticipate any suspension. Well, according to the league, there was a lot more than nothing and it definitely was an issue.
As always, the question is: does the punishment fit the crime? And particularly in this case where prosecutors have not pursued criminal charges. And the answer is: if what the League says is true, then he truly deserves that suspension.
According to the league, there were three incidents within a week last year involving Elliott and a woman. One on July 17th when Elliott attacked Tiffany Thompson at the Canvasback Lane apartments in Columbus, Ohio, which resulted in injuries to Ms. Thompson’s arms, neck, and shoulders.
Two days later, the league says there was an altercation where Elliott used force and left Ms. Thompson with injuries to her face, arms, wrists, and hands.
And two days after that, another incident that left her with injuries to her face, neck, arms, knee, and hips.
And there was photographic evidence that the league felt was compelling.
Elliott is expected to appeal the suspension and his representatives said in a statement that “The NFL’s findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions and it ‘cherry picks’ so called evidence to support its conclusion while ignoring other critical evidence.”
Maybe they’re right. Maybe there was nothing there and maybe that’s why Jerry Jones was so confident that nothing would happen. Maybe the league got this one wrong. They don’t exactly have a flawless record when it comes to handing out justice.
Elliott’s side has argued that the case isn’t what it appears and that there were other things at play, but Peter Harvey, the former Attorney General for New Jersey, who led the NFL’s chief advisors of its investigation, wasn’t having that in a conference call, “The suggestion was made, maybe someone else did it. Except there was never someone else who was revealed and identified as someone who would have done it … What the NFL’s investigators learned is that on at least four nights Mr. Elliott and Ms. Thompson stayed together in the same apartment in the same bedroom. So the injuries did not just — at least in my judgment — magically appear on her body. So while alternative theories are interesting, in my judgment they have to be supported by evidence, and that was lacking in this particular situation.”
I don’t know what did or didn’t happen because I wasn’t at the Canvasback Lane apartments last summer and I wasn’t part of the investigation, but if the league is grasping at straws, they’re doing it pretty confidently. They believed Ms. Thompson’s version over Mr. Elliott’s version and they did so to the extent that they didn’t reduce the six-game suspension for a superstar player to something less right out of the gate.
As for Elliott himself, he tweeted a statement that included in part, that he was “surprised and disappointed” by the suspension. And I’ll be real. I’m not surprised that he’s surprised by the suspension. Because I’m not sure he gets it. Not after what he’s done while he’s been under investigation.
The NFL pointed out that Elliott’s act at a St. Patrick’s Day parade this year, where he yanked down a woman’s top was “inappropriate and disturbing” and “reflected a lack of respect for women.” Truth. That’s inappropriate and disturbing at any time, but even more so when you’re already under investigation for domestic violence. That doesn’t sound to me like a guy who gets it and has changed his ways.
Again, I don’t know what this guy did or didn’t do. But I don’t need to know to know that this cat just doesn’t get it. Didn’t get it at Ohio State and still doesn’t get it in Dallas. Because he had issues then and he obviously has them now. And if a six game suspension doesn’t get this dude’s attention, nothing will.
I know it’s hard to be young, rich and famous, when you’re a target and so many people are coming at you. I get it. And lot of people can’t handle it. That’s the problem. You’re one of them. So just stay home.
Depending on your appeal, you may have just thrown away six games of your career; and you’re killing your team. Wake the hell up, before you do any more damage to your career or the team that’s paying you and counting on you.