Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games Friday for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Elliott’s ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, accused him of domestic violence last July in Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus City Attorney’s office elected not to pursue charges due to “conflicting and inconsistent information,” but the NFL can suspend players without criminal charges.
Elliott, however, was accused of assaulting Thompson three times in five days, and the NFL has evidence to support those claims.
“I don’t see how they could not have given him six games,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I think if they were to lessen this after coming out this strongly – this seems to be a textbook example of six games. . . . (The NFL explanation) paints a very moving scenario that certainly, at least to me, seems to have left little doubt that there were three physical altercations in the span of a week between Ezekiel Elliott and Tiffany Thompson.”
Elliott, 22, would not be eligible to return to action until a Week 8 road game against Washington on Oct. 29. He filed an appeal Friday, which La Canfora believes will be “resolved long before the regular season.”
The NFL apparently did not take Elliott’s other off-field transgressions into account before issuing this suspension.
“They went out of their way to say the St. Patrick’s incident was not related to this,” La Canfora said. “Their findings for his violating the personal-conduct policy (were from last July) in his apartment in Columbus.”
Elliott, the fourth overall pick in 2016, led the NFL in rushes (322) and rushing yards (1,631) as a rookie. He was also third with 15 rushing touchdowns 5.1 yards per carry (minimum 200 carries), as Dallas (13-3) finished with the best record in the NFC.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made numerous statements in recent months indicating he did not expect a suspension of any sort.
Well, he was wrong.
“It’s fairly disturbing,” La Canfora said. “(He kept saying), ‘There’s nothing to see here. This isn’t a domestic-violence situation. I’m confident he’s going to be there Week 1.’ It’s fairly detestable to (say) that in light of what the NFL has presented. That, to me, is problematic.”
Brandon Tierney and Tiki Barber both applauded the NFL’s decision, though Tierney felt a year-long suspension would have been justified. Still, isn’t it odd that the NFL is suspending Elliott but not Bengals rookie Joe Mixon?
“Quite possibly, sure,” La Canfora said. “None of these are ever going to completely line up. They’re all different cases. There’s always shades of gray.”
Dallas opens the season at home against the Giants on Sunday Night Football on Sept. 10. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET.