BOSTON (CBS) — The NFL took a very long time investigating Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, but the league has finally reached a decision on how to handle his case.
Elliott has been suspended six games by the NFL for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.
“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 said in an announcement. “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.”
It continued: “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.”
The incidents in question came during July of 2016, incidents for which criminal charges were dropped last September. Elliott went on to rush for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns for Dallas, leading the NFL in rushing yards.
“I have reviewed everything, and there is absolutely nothing — not one thing — that had anything to do with domestic violence,” Jones said in late July. “My opinion is there’s not even an issue over he-said, she-said. There’s not even an issue there.”
Prior to the 2014 season, the NFL instituted a new mandatory six-game suspension to any players who violated the new domestic violence policy. This came in response to the league’s complete mishandling of the Ray Rice matter. Yet last year, the NFL opted to suspend Giants kicker Josh Brown just one game, despite evidence that showed a pattern of serial spousal abuse.
Public backlash led to Goodell placing Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list, and the kicker didn’t find another job in the NFL after that.
The Elliott investigation lasted quite a while, and apparently the NFL was able to uncover more facts than the police were in Ohio.
The Cowboys play the Giants in Week 1 in a nationally televised game on Sunday Night Football. That’s followed by trips to Denver and Arizona, and then home dates against the Rams and Packers before the team’s Week 6 bye. After that, the Cowboys travel to San Francisco in Week 7.
Elliott has three days to appeal the decision.