The Dallas Cowboys could be without their star running back Ezekiel Elliott to start the upcoming 2017-18 NFL season. Elliott is currently being investigated by the NFL for allegations of domestic violence.
As the NFL continues its investigation into Elliott, there is increasing concern among some that Elliott could be suspended, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“I think there’s a growing sense that he could face some sort of short suspension in the coming weeks at some point once the NFL wraps up its investigation,” Schefter said. “It is not over yet, but it is definitely far along into the process. Ezekiel Elliott still has to respond to the NFL’s recent findings.”
“I do want closure,” Elliott told reporters after the Cowboys’ 34-31 loss last season. “I would rather it not drag on this long. If there was something to find, which there’s not, they would’ve found it by now. The police did a very thorough investigation. I will tell you this — it just seems like they’re dragging their feet right now. Who knows, man? I’m just ready for it to end.”
The original accusations against Elliott came in July of 2016 from his ex-girlfriend. As we wrote in January, there is no timeline for an NFL investigation process, and each case is handled differently based on how much information can be gathered.
While the investigation has moved along, the running back has stayed true to his story that nothing illegal happened and as a result he was not charged by authorities. Despite the fact that he wasn’t charged, Elliott has been under investigation by the NFL for an entire year now.
It is important to note that per the league’s personal conduct policy, a player can be suspended for violating that policy even if no legal charges were filed against the player, thus why the NFL’s investigation has been ongoing.
This is where things get interesting and difficult in my opinion. If Elliott wasn’t charged by the police, it could mean that either nothing did happen or that his ex-girlfriend simply didn’t want to file charges. That’s what makes this investigation tough for Elliott and the NFL.
The running back’s ex-girlfriend doesn’t get to decide if the NFL “files charges” in terms of a suspension against Elliott. However, if the NFL does decide to suspend Elliott, doesn’t that technically mean something illegal happened?
Let’s look at the Ray Rice situation. I have zero idea if what Elliott might have done was as bad as what Rice did. BUT, regardless of how much worse one incident was than the other, hasn’t the NFL always talked about how bad domestic violence is no matter the situation? If the NFL thinks it’s so bad and wants to stop getting slammed for how they treat it, shouldn’t there be a blanket suspension for it?
In my opinion, if the NFL really wants to hit hard on domestic violence, there should be an automatic 17-week suspension plus a no playoff participation clause attached to it. This way if someone were suspended let’s say in week 16 this year, he wouldn’t be able to play for 17 total weeks plus the next season’s playoffs if his team were to make it. This is basically a year long suspension and I think still not enough for domestic violence (personally I think you should be banned if there is evidence and proof of it).
The NFL here is just putting itself into a terrible situation. Since no charges were filed against Elliott, if the league chooses to suspend him the chance of an appeal is very high and that’s probably what will happen. At the same time, if a suspension is handed down, no matter how large or small, doesn’t that mean in their view Elliott did commit domestic violence? The NFL certainly has a domestic violence situation and seems to have absolutely no idea how to handle it. Maybe this is why this case has been going for so long in the first place.