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Ezekiel Elliott: NFL’s History with Domestic Violence Shows Inconsistency, Hypocrisy

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott: NFL's History with Domestic Violence Shows Inconsistency, Hypocrisy 2
James D Smith via AP

Ezekiel Elliott's appeal of his six-game suspension for domestic violence is one of the biggest stories in the NFL right now. The hearing is supposed to end today and then we will have to wait and see what arbiter Harold Henderson decides as to the length of Elliott's ban, or if it even still exists.

This morning I had "Mike & Mike" on in the background while getting ready for work and Mike Greenberg began reading off the NFL's suspensions under the domestic violence (D.V.) policy since 2014. Of course, that was the year of the Ray Rice incident that brought the NFL's handling of domestic violence issues under public fire. A new policy was instituted that set a six-game minimum for D.V. incidents.

With the help of this article from Michael David Smith about the NFL's handling of domestic violence, here is a summary of the cases that have come between Ray Rice and Ezekiel Elliott:

  • 2014 - Quincy Enunwa, Jets WR, was arrested and charged with assaulting a woman. Suspension: 4 games
  • 2014 - Jonathan Dwyer, Cardinals RB, was arrested and charged for D.V. against his wife. Suspension: 3 games
  • 2015 - Junior Galette, Washington LB, was arrested and charged with D.V. Charges were later dropped. Suspension: 2 games.
  • 2015 - Joseph Randle, Cowboys RB, was arrested and charged but charges were later dropped. This was four months after a shoplifting arrest and other issues Randle had during a short, trouble-filled NFL career. Suspension: 4 games.
  • 2015 - Andrew Quarless, Packers TE, was accused of firing a gun into the air during a domestic argument. Suspension: 2 games.
  • 2016 - Josh Brown, Giants K, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor D.V. against his wife. Suspension: 1 game
5 NFL Rule Changes That Need to Happen

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

In case you didn't get it the first five times, let me just make sure...

"ARRESTED AND CHARGED"

Those two words hang over this case more than any other fact, question, or opinion. The NFL, namely Roger Goodell, has routinely come down softer on players with legal arrests, charges and even admissions of guilt related to domestic violence. None of these apply in Ezekiel Elliott's case.

Elliott was never arrested or charged by police after an investigation into Tiffany Thompson's accusations. Not only that, but Thompson's credibility has been ripped to shreds from more than one angle. Zeke even filed a harassment claim against her last year for repeated phone calls and messages, including threats to blackmail him.

It is fair to ask what Goodell and his cronies had that made them think any sort of suspension was warranted. It is imperative to ask what they had that made them suddenly decide to stick to the six-game minimum. Why would Goodell suddenly decide to drop the hammer on arguably the weakest case of domestic violence he's reviewed since the policy was enacted?

Roger Goodell, John Mara

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NY Giants Owner John Mara

(That's a picture of Goodell and NY Giants owner John Mara, whose team plays the Cowboys in Week One. I'm just going to leave that there.)

(Oh, but go back up to that list and see Josh Brown again. See what team he played for. See how many games he got compared to the rest.)

You can't cite mandatory minimums when you've done nothing but undercut them for three years. Goodell has already broken his own D.V. policy with this history and it makes everything happening now with Ezekiel Elliott highly questionable, if not suspect for incompetence and even corruption.

You could argue that this isn't about Elliott but the NFL trying to reset the bar for domestic violence and add teeth back to their own policy. If that is the goal then they picked the wrong case to do it with. There is no arrest or charge, only an accuser with major credibility issues. The NFL has chosen the wrong scapegoat.

Ezekiel Elliott: NFL's History with Domestic Violence Shows Inconsistency, Hypocrisy 1

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (left) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

This situation reveals a lot about who and what Roger Goodell really is. At the least, he's inconsistent and therefore ill-equipped to handle such important and personally damaging issues as domestic violence and other personal conduct issues. His track record of incompetence in these matters is clear and it's the players and their reputations who suffer the most from Goodell's wishy-washy judgments.

Look at that picture again. This situation tells you what a lie it is, and why Goodell is deservedly booed at every draft. He is the last guy that should be welcoming these players to the NFL, given that he has consistently proven to have their well-being furthest from his mind. When it comes to the NFL relationship with its talent pool, the commissioner should be somewhere between the owners and the players. Goodell has always been the owners' puppet and easily swayed by what he thinks will appease public opinion.

Some have tried to excuse Goodell's treatment of Elliott as trying to "scare him straight." There's no denying that Zeke has had some maturity and decision-making issues, but can we talk about Joseph Randle again? His track record was awful going into his D.V. incident and yet still Goodell didn't give him the six-game minimum. The only thing consistent about Goodell is his inconsistency.

A real commissioner would look at nothing but Ezekiel Elliott, Tiffany Thompson, and the facts of the case. He would look at prior decisions and the reasoning that went into them. He wouldn't need appeals and courts to solve fairly simple issues that anyone in his position should be able to handle.

But no, that's not what we have in the NFL. We have a guy that is a cross between Pinocchio and a wet noodle. And sadly, it looks like we're stuck with him for a while.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Featured in 9th Annual ESPN Body Issue

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

I freely admit that I'm a Cowboys fan and, as such, have plenty of bias in this situation. But anyone who looks at the known facts and information about this case shouldn't be far behind Cowboys Nation in their outrage. All 32 fan bases of the NFL, even those in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, should be angry about injustice.

Your favorite player may be the next on Goodell's docket. Whatever the next hot button issue is that has the public pointing fingers at the NFL, the unfortunate player who gets in Goodell's crosshairs will face his same unpredictable rulings. Even worse, he may be convicted by the NFL for a crime he didn't commit and no true judicial body saw fit to pursue.

This isn't about the Cowboys season or your fantasy football team. This is about a real person, 22-year-old Ezekiel Elliott, and a potentially false accusation that the NFL has now obtusely stamped right on his forehead. Even if Harold Henderson drops the suspension to just a couple of games, Zeke should strongly consider taking the matter to court. Accepting any suspension could be seen as an admission of some degree of guilt, and an innocent man (I hope) shouldn't have to live with that.

We will know soon what Henderson decided and then see how things unfold. Whatever the end result, Roger Goodell has already failed. Once again, he has allowed a situation to go too far and ultimately out of his hands. He's the worst fumbler in the history of the NFL.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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4 Comments
  • Corey

    If they don’t completely throw this suspension out, which I know will never happen, they should at least reduce it to 2 or 3 games. I saw where that Bengal LB Vontaze Burfict had his 5 game suspension reduced to 3 games. This is not the first time this guy has been in hot water either. He has been penalized multiple times for the illegal hits he puts on players and he does it repeatedly, so if they can reduce this guys suspension with a tone of evidence that he did it, they should cut Zeke’s at least in half with little or no evidence he ever did anything. I will always say this, that he was the target of a witch hunt and nothing more. He made some not so intelligent decisions last year, and Goodell immediately decided to zero in on Zeke. Goodell needs to step down, he is a joke as a commissioner and his discipline policies are all over the place. No one ever knows what he will do from one incident to the next.

  • Randy Martin

    From what I have gathered and in reading the report issued by the committee it seems the crux of the case comes down to one thing and it is the medical examiner’s forensic determination that the photos of bruises appear to have occurred at a time when Zeke and her were in the same place! Any defense attorney should be able to blow that out of the water. Everyone doesn’t heal from bruises at the same rate. And I read a snip the other day that said Ms. Thompson engaged in a high risk lifestyle where bruises come with the turf. I don’t even try to interpret what this means. If this suspension is not vacated then it seems the only option is federal court as I’m sure Zeke will not see any suspension as acceptable. Accepting even 2 games is tantamount to accepting guilt. And if it’s vacated, Roger Goodell and his NFL subcommittee and minions are going to be wearing major egg on face with some “splainin to do Lucy!”

  • Charles

    I am hoping someone can answer this hypothetical question. If Zeke’s suspension were cut to 3 games by Harold Henderson but Zeke was not satisfied with that outcome and decides to pursue the matter through the court system. If he loses in the courts and has to serve the suspension would he go back to the original suspension of 6 games or would it be the 3 games that Henderson hypothetically changed it to.

    • Russ_Te

      I think Elliott would then receive the final NFL outcome from the arbitrator.

      But I think he sues, and wins, if any suspension is left standing. Remember, EE’s endorsements future is already gone because of these allegations.

      I have been adamant about the weakness of the NFL’s case, and it being way off the ranch this time. But I clarify again, I vote progressive candidates and always support women’s and equal rights. Always have. But we also are supposed to presume innocence not guilt – and the NFL has jack to stand on here. They will lose in court if it goes that far.

Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Resilient Prescott Inches Cowboys Closer to NFC East Title

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Resilient Prescott Inches Cowboys Closer to NFC East Title
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

If an overtime win over the defending Super Bowl champions that ends their dreams of repeating while increasing your own playoff odds can be both ugly and beautiful, then the Dallas Cowboys 29-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles was certainly that - and a whole lot more.

Extending their winning streak to five didn't come without the Cowboys toying with a total collapse, as Quarterback Dak Prescott turned the ball over three times. Fresh off a win against the New Orleans Saints where the Cowboys managed just 13 points, the Eagles pushed this defense to the edge thanks to continued struggles on offense.

In overtime, Prescott made sure Carson Wentz and the Eagles would never see the ball, putting four indescribable quarters behind him to lead a game-winning touchdown drive. The Cowboys are a win away from claiming the NFC East. The full scope of how this season has turned on its head goes well beyond this most recent Cowboys win, at least back to their first win at the Eagles five weeks ago.

For now, my first attempt at sorting out what we saw at AT&T Stadium on Sunday will have to do, with another post game edition of Sean's Scout.

  • With both Tight Ends Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz setting new career highs in receptions, I was waiting for the Cowboys patience on offense to pay off with a big play on the outside, finally provided twice by Wide Receiver Amari Cooper.

In the Cowboys previous win over the Eagles, their receivers had their way with a depleted Philadelphia secondary. Dealing with injuries at cornerback mid-game that are still effecting this group, the Eagles were in no position to line up against Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Cole Beasley.

The counter for the Cowboys offense this week was to use heavier formations, pound Ezekiel Elliott, and get their tight ends involved more than they've been all season. Perhaps the only normal thing to come out of this game was Elliott's 40 touches.

Despite it being a career high, there's no reason Elliott shouldn't be this involved in the Cowboys offense. The Cowboys patience with Elliott was eventually rewarded when Cooper scored from 28 yards out to break a 6-6 tie, and again from 75 yards to put Dallas ahead 23-16 in the fourth quarter.

If not for a few missed shots to Michael Gallup and a missed Brett Maher field goal, the Cowboys efforts on offense could have kept this game out of overtime, though their execution on the winning drive is hard to dispute.

  • The Cowboys are last in the league at scoring touchdowns in the red zone over their last three wins, something that has to change quickly in preparation for the playoffs. 

The Cowboys were 3 of 5 in the red zone in the win that started this streak in Philly, and 2 of 3 the following week at the Falcons. Their decline on offense has been a recent trend that must come back up over the last three weeks of the regular season.

Only six of Elliott's 40 touches came in the red zone, which feels inexcusable from Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, considering also it was an adjusted play call by Cooper and Prescott that created their long touchdown to force overtime.

Perhaps the trust the Cowboys showed in Schultz and Jarwin will lead to more red zone opportunities for tight ends, of which the Cowboys have no true middle-of-field threat.

  • There is no reason for Prescott to be falling away on his first interception in the end zone, targeting an open Cooper to the back corner. 

Prescott never saw Rasul Douglas break off his man and end up under a throw to Cooper that was placed in a horrible spot. Cooper was open, but thrown into coverage on a ball he never really came close to.

After another look at the play, it's even more disturbing to see Prescott's mechanics. Sliding in a clean pocket, Prescott was falling away slightly when he released the ball. The Cowboys defense would bail out Prescott after probably his most egregious turnover, forcing a three and out.

This was not the case after Prescott's second interception that turned into the Eagles first touchdown, or fumble that lead to a tying field goal.

  • For as good a pass rushing duo as DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are, Defensive Tackles Maliek Collins and Tyrone Crawford don't get enough credit for their all-around game. 

Before kickoff, I wrote about the Cowboys not needing David Irving, who missed his sixth straight game. This is a compliment to not only Collins and Crawford, but Antwaun Woods as well. All three played their part in keeping the Eagles offense in check once again.

Crawford may be playing the best football of his seven-year career. No longer struggling to fit in as either a defensive end or tackle, Crawford is simply a leader by example for the Cowboys defense wherever he lines up.

Carson Wentz is a quarterback you have to make reset his feet defensively, and Crawford was able to force this a number of times. His speed rush ability paired with the power of Collins and Woods on the inside is incredibly disruptive for Dallas.

Following Maher's missed field goal, Crawford turned in one of the hustle plays of the season for the Cowboys to strip Wentz. Beating the left guard off the snap, Crawford dipped Jason Peters at left tackle on his way to a forced fumble that produced another field goal before the half.

This game was that close to having a first half all about the Cowboys taking advantage of Eagles mistakes, instead leaving points on the field and letting the Eagles punish second half mistakes on the way to overtime.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

With a win at the Colts, vs. the Buccaneers, or at the Giants the Cowboys will have gone from 3-5 to NFC East champions for 2018. The merits of just how good this division is will be worth discussing prior to the playoffs, but with two wins over the Eagles and one over the Redskins within an ongoing five game win streak, the Cowboys are objectively one of the hottest teams in the league right now.

Amari Cooper has probably made six or seven plays "better" than his miraculous overtime touchdown, proving his worth more and more each week, though his winning score will surely be a lasting moment from the Cowboys week 14 win.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Resilient Prescott Inches Cowboys Closer to NFC East Title" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

#DALvsPHI: Evaluating Jason Garrett’s 4th Down OT Decision

Kevin Brady

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Report: Jason Garrett "Not Going Anywhere" with Possible Extension Coming Soon 1

It's no secret that Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is the victim of much criticism among Cowboys Nation. Often called too conservative, or called out for "coaching scared," Garrett has gotten killed by the media throughout much of the 2018 season.

You could easily argue that Garrett cost the Cowboys the game against the Houston Texans, and even the first match up with Washington, but how this team has rallied over the last 5 weeks is a direct reflection of their head coach's character.

Last Sunday the Cowboys faced another one of those late game, fourth down decisions. It was fourth and 1 in overtime with just about 4 minutes left to play in the extra period. Dallas had driven the ball down the field for a potential field goal, but you know the fans wanted more.

The overtime rules state that if Dallas, who possessed the ball first, were to make a field goal, the Eagles would get the ball and a chance to score. This made the decision all-the-more interesting for Jason Garrett, who decided to pound the ball with Ezekiel Elliott for a first down. Elliott made a great individual effort on the play to dive forward for the conversion without much push from the offensive line.

Just a few plays later Dak Prescott would find Amari Cooper for the game winning touchdown, further vindicating Jason Garrett for his "gutsy" fourth down call.

Back when Garrett decided to punt in overtime against Houston, we all killed him, and I did so with my win probability numbers. But, with the decision going the other way against Philadelphia, let's examine what that same probability model says, and give Garrett credit where it is due.

Before any decision was made, with the Cowboys facing fourth and 1, the model had Dallas at a 72% chance of winning the game. Had they kicked the field goal, and made it, their win probability would have moved to just 73% (with decimal rounding). Basically, the kick, although it would put Dallas up 3 points, would have no change on their win probability.

If they had missed the fourth down conversion, their probability would have dropped down to 53%. Clearly this is a steep drop of nearly 20 percentage points, but they still wouldn't be in terrible position to win or tie the game. But, since they went for it and converted, their win probability jumped to 77%.

ESPN's win probability model was much more bullish on the Cowboys' chances, bringing their win probability to 95% after the fourth down conversion. Regardless of the model you use, converting that fourth down clearly made it very unlikely for Philadelphia to win the game.

So credit to Jason Garrett for making the call, and credit to Ezekiel Elliott for making good on the conversion.



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Game Notes

Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win

John Williams

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Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 3

The big debate that occurred when the Dallas Cowboys made the move to acquire Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders, revolved around the trade compensation required for the Cowboys to complete the deal. Many thought that sending the Oakland Raiders a first round pick for Cooper to be too much, especially after it was rumored that the Philadelphia Eagles had offered a second round pick the week before. Well, after a huge game that saw Amari Cooper completely dominate the game, we can once and for all put this conversation to rest.

On the night, Amari Cooper caught 10 passes on 13 targets for 217 yards and three touchdowns including the game winner in overtime. He came up with huge catches for first downs and touchdowns throughout the game and continues to show an important ability to get open at will. Even on Dak Prescott's first interception, Cooper was open heading into the end zone, but Dak left the ball a bit short allowing Rasul Douglas to make the play and take points off the board.

Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 2

The Dallas Cowboys offense was listless for most of the game until Dak Prescott and Cooper hooked up for their first touchdown of the game, a 28 yard score that brought life to the offense. Cooper was left alone in man coverage. Cooper wasn't in the best position to catch the ball when it was released, but he used his elite speed and ball tracking skills to get into a better position and make the catch for the first of three go-ahead touchdowns.

Dak and Amari had to continue to hook up throughout the second half and overtime in order for the Cowboys to pull out the win and take a commanding two-game lead in the division. Cooper followed up his first score with a 75-yard touchdown reception to again give the Dallas Cowboys a seven point lead. After the game, Cooper talked about the play with the media.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

After the game Amari Cooper talked about his 75-yard touchdown and how he originally had a stop route but Dak Prescott gave him a hand signal to run a go instead.

Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win 1

Again, Cooper gets a one on one matchup. Cooper is able to get down the sideline in a hurry and again use his ball tracking skills to find the ball in the air and get into a great position to make the catch and then hurry away from the defensive backs.

From the get go, you could tell that Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper have had a nice chemistry this season and that 75-yard touchdown reception is just further evidence of their connection. Amari Cooper took full advantage of a depleted Eagles secondary on Sunday and made some nice moves after the catch.

Amari Cooper has Final Say on Trade Compensation in Cowboys Win

Sometimes being lucky is just as important as being good. On third and eight in overtime, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys were extremely lucky to come away with the victory on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Cooper's concentration on the game-winning touchdown reception was really good, but this play could have gone a few terrible ways, but it didn't and the Cowboys came away with a victory that puts them in a commanding position in the NFC East.

Since he's come over from the Oakland Raiders, he's caught 40 passes on 50 targets for 641 yards and six touchdowns on the season. He's averaging 16 yards per reception and has caught 80% of his passes on the season. He also hasn't had a drop this season and is getting open with tremendously regularity.

Since the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper, they are 5-1 and are a win away from clinching the NFC East with three games to go. The offense has looked much more explosive in the last five games and have moved the ball more consistently over the last six games. In pretty much every way that you can evaluate the move, Amari Cooper has been excellent for the Dallas Cowboys and for the price of a first round draft pick, he's far exceeded his price tag.



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