Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott is expected to be
suspended by the NFL for multiple domestic violence incidents with
a league announcement coming as soon as Friday, multiple outlets
Elliott, 22, is accused by his former girlfriend of five domestic
assault incidents in July 2016 in Columbus, Ohio and has been under
NFL investigation, although the city attorney’s office already
announced he will not face criminal charges.
He could be facing a suspension of at least six games for
first-time offenders with a possible fine under the NFL’s new
domestic violence policy.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told NBC during last week’s Hall of Fame
game that “domestic violence is not an issue” in the investigation
of Elliott and that the NFL is reviewing whether or not his
behavior violated the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Elliott’s teammates are not worried either, with Cowboys tight end
Jason Whitten teliing ESPN the team is “confident it’s going to
work out” and wide receiver Dez Bryant saying, “He’s going to be
there. That’s all I’m going to tell you.”
The second-year back is coming off a sensational rookie season in
which he rushed for a Cowboys-rookie-record 1,631 yards and 15
touchdowns en route to his first career Pro Bowl selection.
The NFL released an official statement:
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.