It’s hard to be a Dallas Cowboys fan. America’s Team has become a little bit of a laughing stock for opposing fans since the Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl or had much success since the century has changed. Heck, even the Philadelphia Eagles finally managed to win one, even if it was handed to them by Bill Belichick’s curious big game decisions.
Even before last season, though, it had been rough 16 years. There have been dropped snaps, Cabo trips, balls lost in the lights, injuries, terrible calls and a host of other things that have done Dallas in. Fans might have thought they’d seen it all, there was nothing that could happen to shock Cowboys backers anymore.
Then came the 2017 season, when the NFL levied a suspension to Ezekiel Elliott. A suspension so ridiculous, even the league’s own investigator argued against punishment for Elliott. Kia Roberts, the NFL’s hand-picked investigator, reasoned the witness wasn’t credible. The young lady accusing Zeke had lied and publicly stated her desire to get back at Elliott and ruin his football career. The league managed to take none of Roberts’ recommendation into account and suspended Elliott six games anyway.
What does this have to do with now, you may ask? Well, the league handed down a two-game suspension to San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster on Tuesday, none of which was for the domestic violence accusation. Foster, it seems, got away with that unscathed. The suspension was for violating the NFL’s Conduct and Substances of Abuse policies.
Pardon my French, but what a crock of crap. There is no discernable difference in the cases, yet Foster got away without punishment and Elliott got six games. Neither was found guilty, Foster was arrested and Zeke was never charged. According to the league, a player doesn’t need to be found guilty, but can still be suspended, a fact that didn’t appear to be true in Foster’s case.
Also, Foster’s investigation was over within months, while Elliott’s case with the league went on for over a year.
It’s things like this that make it difficult for Dallas Cowboys fans to see happen and not believe there wasn’t a major conspiracy against the team last year. Also remember, Cowboys opponents didn’t have a holding call on their offensive line for 35 straight quarters against the Dallas defense, that’s over eight games worth of non-holding calls in the NFL.
Many Cowboys fans already feel like the league is out to get them, (see Bryant, Dez and the ‘catch rule’) but last year actually gave some credence to the anti-Dallas bias. It’s been proved this offseason with the miniscule suspensions that are being handed down, while Elliott got the book thrown at him. There is no other way to describe what happened last year than to say the Cowboys got screwed.
The reality is the league conspired to hurt the Cowboys last season, it’s hard to argue against that point now. It may sound far-fetched or like sour grapes, but so be it, there is now proof.
The good news is, last season is over and we’re all onto a new year. Ezekiel Elliott stayed out of the news this offseason and the Cowboys are primed to make a real run with a young, talented roster. It doesn’t change what transpired in 2017 and learning about Reuben Foster’s suspension feels like it confirms the injustice imposed on the Cowboys last year.
The Dallas Cowboys have turned the page, but it doesn’t mean we can’t notice the hypocrisy coming from the NFL. And it’s still upsetting.
You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi