UPDATE: The NFL has released an official statement on Ezekiel Elliott's suspension.
Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys was notified today by the NFL that he will be suspended without pay for the team's first six 2017 regular-season games for violating the league's Personal Conduct 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 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.
Pursuant to the Personal Conduct Policy, Commissioner Goodell sought the views of four external advisors (see below) to assist him in evaluating potential violations. These experts range in experience from law enforcement, judicial and public service, and other specialized subject areas.
The advisors participated in a meeting on June 26, 2017 in New York City with Elliott, who was represented by his legal team and the NFL Players Association. The group also reviewed the league's investigative reports and materials, the expert medical reports, and multiple NFL Players Association submissions on Elliott's behalf.
In a letter to Elliott advising him of the decision, Todd Jones, the NFL's Special Counsel for Conduct, said these advisors "were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016."
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.
Elliott may appeal this decision within three days. If he does not appeal, Elliott's suspension will begin September 2, the day of final roster reductions for NFL teams. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. Elliott will be eligible to return to the team's active roster on Monday, October 23 following the Cowboys' Sunday, October 22 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
The NFL is suspending Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games as a result of their year-long investigation into domestic violence claims against him, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is expected to appeal 6-game suspension, per sources. Has three business days to file appeal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 11, 2017
The league started its investigation into Elliott not long after he was accused of domestic violence on July 22nd, 2016. Police did not press charges against Elliott, thanks in large part to witness testimony disputing the alleged victim's account.
However, the league continued with their own investigation and apparently found enough evidence against him to warrant a suspension.
Under the NFL's current domestic violence policy, first time offenders receive a six-game suspension, though the league is able to alter that (to make it harsher or more lenient) based on the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Elliott was accused of hitting his ex-girlfriend while the two were in a car together. However, four witnesses say they didn't see an assault, including someone else who was in the car with Elliott and his ex-girlfriend. He was not arrested on scene when police responded to the alleged incident.
Dallas was bracing for a suspension, but were expecting it to be for only a game or two. They are expected to appeal the length of the suspension.
Elliott has been involved in several other incidents since being drafted in 2016, including visiting a marijuana dispensary in Seattle, which is legal, during the preseason. In March of this year, Elliott was filmed pulling down a woman's shirt and exposing her breast at a St. Patrick's Day parade. Nothing came of that incident either, as the woman continued to hang out with him afterward.
The most recent incident came in July, when Elliott was connected to an assault at a bar, but police never tied Elliott to the investigation and have suspended the case because the victim didn't give them an accurate address or phone number.
While none of those incidents will result in direct discipline from the NFL, they have said they were looking at the "accumulative nature" of these incidents.
The 22-year-old led the league in rushing as a rookie last season, picking up 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns on 322 carries.Back to the Dallas Cowboys Newsfeed