It appears that Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will be allowed to eat up yards this season…for now.
A federal judge blocked an impending six game suspension on the star player after reports surfaced that he had assaulted a woman by the name of Tiffany Thompson.
Elliott’s attorney’s claim that Thompson fabricated the story of Elliott assaulting her, and a substantial lack of evidence partially support that defense. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant granted Elliott and the NFL Players Association (The Players Union) a temporary restraining order on the suspension, allowing Elliott to play this season while the legal work is sorted out.
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that Elliot is off the hook. Last year, Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson appealed a ten-game suspension after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The appeal and the process that followed suit took place during the first month of the season. Johnson was able to play those first four games but was then not allowed to play for ten games.
The Eagles started 3-1 with Johnson, then went 2-8 in the ten games without him, and eventually won the final two games when he returned. The appellate process only delayed the suspension and unfortunately hurt the Eagles down the stretch. The team would’ve been better off had Johnson taken the ten games from the start so that he would be around for a good chunk of the second half of the season.
In this instance, the same thing is going to happen to the Cowboys. Elliott is a game-changer and his team will look at this delay as a great thing, as Dallas begins the season against their rival New York Giants. But if the appeal process runs out, and he is handed the six-game suspension, won’t it just hurt the Cowboys if it takes effect right in the middle of the season?
Elliott’s attorneys claim the NFL unjustly suspended him without looking at the evidence of his case, but the issue doesn’t necessarily begin and end with this one incident.
Elliott has been involved with domestic violence before, including an incident where he broke a gentleman’s nose at a Dallas bar. He was even caught on camera exposing a woman’s breasts at a St. Patrick’s Day parade this past March. The second-year back claimed the woman consented to have sex with him later that day in a desperate attempt to justify his actions.
It only showed that Elliott simply doesn’t know any better.
His legal team has a point, though. The NFL is set up in a way where commissioner Roger Goodell has most, if not all of the power to hand out suspensions whenever he feels fit, and the Players Association is doing their job in protecting one of their members.
But let’s be honest, ever since the Ray Rice incident a few years ago, the NFL has made it clear that if a player physically abuses a woman, they will face a suspension. Whether they did it or not, the negative publicity that comes along with it is something the NFL is trying to avoid.
Since the Rice incident, they have made their stance clear with the executions of the suspensions of former Cowboys player Greg Hardy and former Giants kicker Josh Brown after both were charged with domestic assault.
Ezekiel Elliott has more off-the-field incidents under his belt than seasons played, and that only speaks volumes on how much he cares about how he is perceived when not on the field.
He’s a famous professional football player who makes a lot of money and is easily recognized on the street, but Elliott has shown that he is reckless and doesn’t know how to handle himself off the field. In situations like this, the best thing he can do is own up to his mistakes, take the proper steps to make sure he never commits them again, and take the six game suspension as soon as possible.
It will only help his team as they would only have to get through the early part of the season without him, not the end when the playoff race heats up.
Also, it will serve as a punishment for not only this particular incident that he is being accused of, but for the other laundry list of things he has done.
Elliott is 22 years old and has the talent to be a Hall of Fame running back. But unless he learns to take accountability for his childish actions, he will only be what every NFL player is afraid of becoming: a bust.
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