Photo courtesy of si.com | Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott has been given a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The suspension will take into effect starting Week 2 of the season.
The NFL handed down its decision Tuesday night. As reported by ESPN, NFL appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson has upheld the suspension of the Cowboys feature running back, Ezekiel Elliott. He will sit out six games of the season.
Elliott was suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after he faced allegations of domestic violence. Elliott’s ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, told Columbus police that the former Ohio State star physically assaulted her while the-then couple was sitting in a parked car in July of 2016.
No criminal charges were brought against him after the Columbus City Attorney’s office said there was “conflicting and inconsistent” information about the incidents between Thompson’s and witness’ testimonies.
The NFL felt the opposite, and the NFL Special Counsel for Conduct Todd Jones wrote in a letter that “there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that Elliott engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016.”
“I am both surprised and disappointed by the NFL’s decision today,” Elliott tweeted out on Aug. 1, “…I admit I am far from perfect, but I plan to continue to work very hard, on and off the field, to mature and earn the great opportunity that I have been given.”
Elliott’s legal team said in a statement after the announcement, “we are extremely disappointed with Mr. Henderson’s inability to navigate through league politics, and follow the evidence and, most importantly, his conscience.”
The legal team is also under the impression that the league was out to get Elliott. They believe that Elliott was “(a) victim of a conspiracy orchestrated by the National Football League and its officers to keep exonerating evidence from the decision-makers, including the advisors and Roger Goodell.”
Despite the NFL’s decision, Elliott will be eligible to play Sunday in the Cowboys season opener against the New York Giants. His suspension will take effect beginning Week 2 and will remain in effect pending official legal proceedings.
Two previous cases judged by Henderson resulted in the reduction of the suspensions of Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Elliott decision marks the longest suspension regarding a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.
Elliott surpassed all expectations last year, becoming the 2016 rushing champion as well as Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up to his teammate, quarterback Dak Prescott.
The Cowboys, without Elliott, will most likely be forced to use a committee of running backs including veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. The Week 2 game against the Denver Broncos will be the first indicator of how the team will handle Elliott’s absence.
By: Jack Dunn ~Staff Writer~