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NFL Botches Ezekiel Elliott Punishment

Ezekiel Elliott
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series 2017 Ezekiel Elliott Suspension

The NFL has swung down the hammer on the Dallas Cowboys and star running back Ezekiel Elliott, it’s going to be a six game suspension. Of course, with the appeals process, the penalty can be lowered, but it’s a big blow to the Cowboys.

It’s very difficult to determine how we got here. Six games, when Elliott was cleared by local police, who found the accuser was inconsistent in her statements and there was a published affidavit that proved she was trying to “ruin his career.” Yet somehow, the league “generally believed” the accusers testimony.

Also, the league was extremely vague on what the suspension was for. The NFL announced it was for domestic violence over a five day period in July 2016, stating they “were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence.” Yet on a conference call to talk about the suspension, the league also said the incident on St. Patrick’s Day “exhibited poor judgement and poor behavior.”

So what, exactly, is the suspension for? A cumulative effect of everything, or for the domestic violence accusation?

Regardless, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to do pretty much whatever they want. There are too many examples of the league making it up on the fly and this is no different. There are just too many inconsistencies since the Ray Rice debacle and they botched another one today.

Ezekiel Elliott does not deserve a six game suspension, especially when New York Giants kicker Josh Brown got just one game last year after admitting he abused his wife. The reasoning behind the punishment does not add up and defies logic.

So here the Cowboys sit, now knowing they will be without Elliott for at least part of the season, and reports are that owner Jerry Jones is furious. He should be, but that anger does nothing to change a suspension to one of his best players.

If we’re being honest, though, Elliott is no choir boy. He has shown signs of poor judgement in the past year and a suspension for all the issues that surround Zeke may have been warranted. But six games is too much, especially without any actual charges or arrests stemming from any incident. In truth, Elliott does need to grow up, there is little denying that fact. Warranted or not, hopefully this is a wake-up call.

There is a tiny bit of a silver lining coming from the news today. The NFL remains a quarterback driven league and if you believe in Dak Prescott, the Cowboys will be fine. They won’t be as good, but they will be able to withstand the loss of Elliott. They still have Darren McFadden, who rushed for 1,000 yards just two years ago, and the combination of Alfred Morris and Rod Smith should be good enough to navigate through the first six games (or less) of the season. All are capable of helping out while Elliott is on the shelf.

Two years ago when DeMarco Murray left, there was no quarterback to help Dallas win all those close games. That is no longer the case with Prescott firmly in control of the offense. Prescott brings a calm influence and a confidence that can help guide the team through the loss of Elliott. The Cowboys are in a much better position this time around; don’t expect the team to flounder without Zeke.

Also, the Cowboys only play one divisional opponent over the first six weeks of the season, so if they want to do their damage in the division, the opportunity is there to do so. Elliott will have fresh legs in keys games, especially down the stretch when defenses are worn down by a long season.

It is a tough day for the Dallas Cowboys. A ridiculous suspension threatens the teams Super Bowl aspirations. Ezekiel Elliott is a major part of who the Cowboys are, and who they want to be, and now they will be without him for six games.

Today we found out the NFL really has no idea what they are doing when it comes to discipline. If they don’t know what they’re doing, how can we? The inconsistencies when handing out their justice makes no sense and they need to get their act together.

Unfortunately, it won’t happen in time to right the Ezekiel Elliott situation. It’s another blow to the league, another mistake the NFL cannot explain.

America’s Team has gotten the shaft, but we haven’t heard the last of situation. Up next, Jerry and Zeke’s response.

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi  

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Ben Grimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Senior Analyst ProFootBallTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer for ProFootBallTalkLine.Com. Associate sports producer. Lets talk sports! On Twitter @BenGrimaldi and Podcasting for STL!
Ben Grimaldi





  • hardwater

    After reading the pathetic reasons EE’s team gave the NFL’s investigators it would appear EE needs a new team to represent him on these matters. Impossible for us to know who’s telling the truth here but if the player is not charged and the accuser has been shown to lie then the NFL should not be able to levy a suspension of this magnitude. The Players Association is failing their players.

  • ym

    That girl in the parade was flashing too. Just look at the full video. The only people not mad at that were the girl and Zeke.

  • Paul Karam

    What is with Cooper Rush? Everyone was saying he is basically a bigger Kellen Moore but with the same weak armarm. Now people are not mentiong his arm. I know they like his smarts and composure, but is the arm strong enough for him to develop into a solid backup?

  • Senovio Rodriguez

    Just curious: bar “incident”… and that Steeler’s coach got what for his …
    hell, the totality of da Gronk’s behavior…with women…

    what did Rothenberger get for his little bar “action”… or what did Brett Farve and his jet weiner… allegedly….of course

    just waiting for the facts…

    as far a NFL having “courage”… if it was just consistent…. and maybe made a deal with players and owners in amending their contract (and maybe had a process for new matters that weren’t covered)… or maybe using cannibis instead of the painkillers it gives out like candy… or not using a foot doctor to handle brain injuries back in the day [okay, maybe it wasn’t a foot doctor but it wasn’t a neurologist…]

    • McShrek

      All pre Ray Rice incidents, the rules have changed now due to that video

  • McShrek

    Ben, you need to look at how the league came up with the suspension (which will be appealed and subsequently reduced, it has become a game now for the league due to the “process”); the league brought in outisde experts to look at the details of the DV incident. Goodell put in place a process by which he only approved the recommendations of the “experts”……..Goodell fully well knows that he would be scrutinized closely if this were to go beyond the 2 game suspension which most people thought was coming….you might not like Goodell but he is no dummy……i have maintained all along that the media has been withholding details of the incident, which now appears to have taken place over a five day window…..for Zeke’s sake it is the kind of jolt that should wake him up………Meyer never did that in his days at Ohio State.

    I applaud the league for having the courage to try to clean up this kind of behavior from its players, his subsequent incidents corroborate the fact that Zeke thought he had gotten away with the episode.

    Jerry, as is his custom, was either clueless or playing coy on the matter…….in effect he was condoning the behavior.

    As you astutely point out, the QB play should carry the day, and with Morris and McFadden we should have enough as long as the revamped o-line holds up…….i see two losses in the early games now, Giants and the Cardinals.

    • Taylor

      Zeke will appeal, and the suspension will be reduced. This was a Potemkin village investigation. “Appears” is not evidence. Reading the Columbus papers, there was no coverup or attempt to downplay the incident. The NFL decided pre-investigation what they wanted as an outcome. Take some shaky evidence, suspend a star, and make a statement. If we can go 50-50 during the suspension, the season is not lost.

      • McShrek
        • ym

          “The NFL admitted Friday that Thompson did lie about another July 22 incident “that did not happen,” according to Harvey. Thompson lied when she accused Elliott of yanking her out of a car and even asked a friend to lie for her and corroborate her story.

          Still, Goodell and his advisors …”

          believe Thompson was credible in everything else she said.

          • McShrek

            Which makes their statement/suspension even more credible; it is rumored that pictures exist of the damage Zeke inflicted upon his GF…….TMZ is supposedly trying to get them…

  • JB

    You can almost here Sheriff Roscoe saying “I’m gonna bet those Duke Boys!” Only its Sheriff Goodell saying gonna get those Jones boys.

    Sheriff Goodell appoints a devout Giants fan to the head of his domestic violence hanging posse, I mean committee? Multiple leaks with Cris Carter saying there was definitely DV???? So the NFL has a leaky ship and convicts Elliot thru accusation, innuendo and leaks to the media over 12 months. The leaks aren’t just recent. I hope he sues Goodell for defamation of Character.

    The NFLPa didn’t do the players any favors with their judge jury executioner power to Roger. Just as Brady Kraft and the Pats saw the long arm of the law reach out once again Goodell has made his position above all.

    Now that doesn’t mean Elliot doesn’t need a wake up calll. Bars and St Paddys day parades withstanding he does need to make better choices. But Pacman Jones this ain’t. Ray Rice it is not. Greg Hardy not even close. I’m not for anyone abusing women. I’m also not for railroading a player just to make yourself look or feel better after all the past failures. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Perhaps the league expects an appeal and reduction the way a few of these have gone. Let’s over step our bounds and get the one two game we really wanted to begin with?