On Friday, the NFL announced its conclusion to the investigation into the domestic violence allegations against Ezekiel Elliott. And the decision was a six-game suspension.
Yesterday, Elliott officially appealed that suspension.
And today there’s a report from Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports that the accuser, Tiffany Thompson, “admitted to NFL investigators having a text exchange in which she discussed leveraging sex videos featuring her and Elliott for money from the player.”
According to Yahoo, the September 2016 exchange is part of a 160-page report that was prepared by NFL investigators as part of their process for looking into the domestic violence allegations. The report laid out that “The League’s forensic experts’ also recovered evidence from Ms. Thompson’s phone that she had registered an email address titled, “ezekielelliott sex vids” during the month of August, 2016.” And that “when Ms. Thompson was asked about this by the League’s investigators, she stated that she did have sex tapes of her and Mr. Elliott on her phone and she did open the email account but she denied doing so to blackmail Mr. Elliott.”
The text exchange with the friend was also included as Exhibit 74 in the appendix that accompanied the report and is as follows:
[Thompson]: What if I sold mine and Ezekiel’s sex videos
[Friend]: We’d all be millionaires
[Friend]: We could black mail him w that
[Thompson]: I want to bro
[Friend]: Let’s do it
[Friend]: I’d be like look give me 10k or I’ll just sell our sex videos for the same amount flat
[Friend]: Me and my friends tryna go on vacation and get boob jobs
(the report notes a pair of blank texts)
[Thompson]: 10k Bitch I want 20k
[Thompson]: Go big or go home
[Friend]: That’s fine too
There’s a lot to unpack here, starting with the fact that this text exchange in September 2016 does not mean that Elliott didn’t assault her on three occasions in July 2016. And that the league knew about it and still came down on Elliott with a 6-game suspension could be an indication that the evidence of domestic violence overwhelms this exchange and the questions it raises.
But at the same time, you know that Elliott’s camp will reportedly use that exchange to question the motives and accuracy of the accuser’s statements when it came to the abuse. And they will try to hammer away at that during the appeal process to get his punishment reduced. It doesn’t look great when the primary witness to the events is also setting up an email account titled “ezekielelliott sex vids.”
But at the same time, a lot of Ezekiel Elliott’s off-field actions don’t look good at all, either. And setting up that email account in August does not mean that she wasn’t assaulted in July. One does not rule out the other.
Honestly, the only thing I know at this point is that we don’t know enough. We don’t know enough about what happened last July, or last August, or last September. The league conducted a long investigation and compiled a 160-page report. They knew about the text exchange and the fact that the accuser at least seems to have given some level of thought to blackmailing Elliott.
And knowing that, they still decided to punish Elliott. At the same time, to say the league has been inconsistent and sometimes baffling on the topic of discipline would be an understatement.
Here’s the only thing we do know – this case didn’t end with the NFL handing down a six-game suspension. And as long as that investigation took, it still feels like we’re nowhere near the end of this story. And it’ll probably get uglier before it gets finished.
So if Elliott or any of you were looking for closure after more than a year, you’re not obviously not going to get it. If anything, this whole thing is just getting started.