Remember a couple weeks back when the league announced that they had finished their investigation into the Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence case? Remember when it felt like that investigation had been going on forever? Well, it’s nowhere close to being done. Ezekiel Elliott had his appeal this week and filed a lawsuit against the NFL yesterday. Which means that this case is going to go on for a lot longer and it’s going to get a lot uglier. And more confusing, so STRAP IN!
A lawsuit from Elliott’s side was always expected, but the expectation was that it would be something in the procedural vein, not in the conspiratorial vein. But that’s exactly what the suit is about. That’s not reading between the lines, either. That is a line from the suit: that “there was a League-orchestrated conspiracy by senior NFL executives, including NFL Senior Vice President and Special Counsel for Investigations Lisa Friel, to hide critical information, which would completely exonerate Elliott.”
Uhhhh, what? A league-orchestrated conspiracy by senior NFL executives to hide critical information on Elliott?
And that’s not all. They claim that NFL Director of Investigations Kia Roberts believed that the victim “was not credible in her allegations of abuse,” that there wasn’t evidence to back up the claims, and Roberts recommended that there be no suspension at all.
So how do we get from the NFL Director of Investigations recommending no suspension to six games for Elliott? Well, according to Elliott’s petition, Roberts was intentionally barred from the meeting where Friel recommended a six-game suspension. Barring the NFL Director of Investigations, the only lead investigator who interviewed the victim, from a meeting about discipline? That’s a little weird. And by a little weird, I mean, really, really, really weird.
And raises all sorts of questions – like what the hell is the league doing? No, seriously, what the hell are they doing? I know their recent track record with investigations is less than awesome, but there’s no way they could butcher this one this badly, right? There’s no way they could take a year to investigate a star running back, smash him with a six-game suspension, only for it to be revealed later that the league’s Director of Investigations didn’t believe he should be suspended at all, right? Please tell me there’s no way that’s possible.
Why would someone in the league office involved in an investigation ignore the NFL Director of Investigations and then intentionally bar the NFL Director of Investigations from attending what appeared to be a crucial meeting about an NFL investigation? I would think that when you’re sitting down for a meeting about an NFL investigation, you do a quick look around the room, maybe take attendance and see if the NFL Director of Investigations is here for the meeting on the NFL investigation. That would be like having a football game without an actual football and nobody at the game thinking that was odd.
I mean they have to have learned from Ray Rice, or bountygate, or the deflated footballs, right? According to Elliott’s camp, no.
If that’s all true, this is going to make Deflategate look like a church picnic. Because that was about deflated footballs. This is about domestic violence. That is not something you mess around with, but to hear Elliott’s side of things, that’s exactly what the league did. The league will have a chance to respond and maybe when they do, we’ll get more clarity, and maybe it will be clear that what Elliott’s camp alleges didn’t actually happen, but in the meantime, I don’t really know what to believe. Except to believe that this case isn’t even close to over. And to ask, if true, how can the league continue to jack up all these investigations as badly as they have.
They’ve looked bad in the past, but if this is true, I’m not sure they’ve looked any worse. If you’re not talking to the only person who spoke to the accuser at length, it makes it seem as if you’re really not interested in finding out what actually happened.