The NFL has officially suspended Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott six games without pay for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
An official announcement regarding Elliott’s suspension was made today by the NFL, with the suspension coming as a result of a NFL investigation into Elliott after an ex-girlfriend accused the Cowboys star of domestic violence. While Elliott was criminally charged, the NFL is still able to penalize a player even without legal charges being in the equation.
Here’s the full NFL statement on the news of the suspension:
Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys was notified today by the NFL that he will be suspended without pay for the team’s first six 2017 regular-season games for violating the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Over the course of the last year, the league conducted an extensive investigation. League investigators interviewed more than a dozen witnesses, including Ms. Tiffany Thompson, who had alleged multiple instances of physical violence in July 2016, and Mr. Elliott. The league also consulted with medical experts. League investigators examined all available evidence, including photographic and digital evidence, thousands of text messages and other records of electronic communications.
Pursuant to the Personal Conduct Policy, Commissioner Goodell sought the views of four external advisors (see below) to assist him in evaluating potential violations. These experts range in experience from law enforcement, judicial and public service, and other specialized subject areas.
The advisors participated in a meeting on June 26, 2017 in New York City with Elliott, who was represented by his legal team and the NFL Players Association. The group also reviewed the league’s investigative reports and materials, the expert medical reports, and multiple NFL Players Association submissions on Elliott’s behalf.
In a letter to Elliott advising him of the decision, Todd Jones, the NFL’s Special Counsel for Conduct, said these advisors “were of the view 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.”
After reviewing the record, and having considered the views of the independent advisors, the commissioner determined that the credible evidence established that Elliott engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy.
Elliott may appeal this decision within three days. If he does not appeal, Elliott’s suspension will begin September 2, the day of final roster reductions for NFL teams. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. Elliott will be eligible to return to the team’s active roster on Monday, October 23 following the Cowboys’ Sunday, October 22 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Per Elliott’s representatives, the suspension will be appealed, with Elliott’s representation questioning the integrity of the NFL’s evidence and factual findings. Elliott will have three business days to file an official appeal with the NFL, with the appeal almost certainly to be heard before the start of the 2017 regular season.
With Elliott currently set to miss Dallas’ first six games, the Cowboys depth at running back will be tested big time, as they will face some of the best defenses in the NFL to start the year without Elliott. Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, and Ronnie Hillman are the other three running backs on the roster currently,
Elliott will still be able to practice with the team and partake in pre-season games, but when the Cowboys are battling the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football Week 1, Elliott will be out the picture, and he will likely be out of the picture for the full six games barring a drastic change in the suspension by the NFL after the appeal.
The Cowboys will then travel to Denver to play the Broncos Week 2, followed by another road game against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football, and then back-to-back home games against the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers. The final game without Elliott will be played on the road against the San Francisco 49ers.
Last year, Elliott and fellow rookie Dak Prescott helped set the NFL world on fire with their spectacular play that resulted in many accolades already been sent both their ways. Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards on 322 carries, which resulted in 15 rushing touchdowns for the 22-year-old Elliott.
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