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Ezekiel Elliott Suspension: Is the NFL ‘woke’?

It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the weekend is here and the New York Giants lost last night. (Yes, I know it is just preseason, but whatever.) Oh, and Ezekiel Elliott is still suspended for six games effective Sept. 2.

Yea. That’s still a thing.

Though Elliott plans to appeal the suspension, the Dallas Cowboys could be looking at life without their star running back on the field until week 8 against the Washington Redskins. The NFL’s decision came after over a year of investigating, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing text messages and other details, following a report of domestic abuse from an ex-girlfriend. No legal charges were filed against Elliott, but that’s not a prerequisite for suspension in the NFL.

The news was met with outrage from Cowboys Nation… as expected.

As report after report was released, article after article was published with different takes, perspectives and opinions. Quite frankly, I’m drowning in it all. But I was intrigued by a take from Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. Freeman said that the ruling was a sign of a “new era” for the NFL and the organization’s stance on domestic violence.

“The NFL, after a sea of inconsistent, self-serving and utterly idiotic decisions relating to its players and domestic violence, may have finally gotten one right.

More than that, the league seems to be making a key new statement with the suspension: Don’t even be on the fringe of this discussion, or you will incur the full wrath of a recently woke NFL on the issue of domestic violence.” – Mike Freeman, Bleacher Report.

So while I, too, am glad the NFL is now “woke”, as they say, on this issue, my questions are: Is the NFL really woke this time? And what took so long to wake up again?

In August 2014, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a league policy stating that matters of “assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force” would merit a six-game suspension without pay. That’s just for the first offense. A second offense of domestic violence resulted in a lifetime ban.

This came as a result of Goodell’s missteps with the Ray Rice assault case. Even then, a policy of this caliber was long overdue, but it was a powerful statement and stance for the NFL. Much like the one they’re taking now regarding Elliott. The rule has been amended a few times, but it’s still meant to be a “fair and consistent” process. The league seemed to be pretty woke.

Since Goodell announced the new policy, it’s only been enforced on two of 18 players that have been publicly linked to domestic violence allegations, according to B/R Mag. TWO.

Of the 18, the one that still blows my mind to this day (and one many are bringing up to defend Elliott) is Josh Brown. The former Giants kicker was arrested after allegations of domestic violence and again two months later for violating a protective order obtained by his wife. His wife said he’d been physically violent over 20 times, and Brown even admitted to it in a journal. After investigation, the league came up with a ONE-game suspension.

I could go on and on about other players that have walked away with out facing the wrath of that policy, but the real problem is the inconsistency. You can’t be woke and inconsistent. You can’t have a respectable policy if you pick and choose when and on who you want to implement it.

If consistency was the standard and it was held every time, Cowboys fans wouldn’t be as outraged by the suspension. It would have been expected. Charges or not. This is not to take away from Elliott’s role in this situation. He did earn a punishment, and this should serve as a wake up call for him. But if this is truly a “new era” for the NFL’s domestic violence policy, then consistency must be the guide.



Staff writer covering the Dallas Cowboys | Dancer | Writer | Sports Enthusiast | Declare HOPE Founder

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