The NFL continues to show flaws in their investigation process. The latest case involving Ezekiel Elliott is getting uglier by the day.
Late Thursday night after his three day appeal hearing with Harold Henderson, The NFLPA requested a temporary restraining order in the Eastern District of Texas, calling the courts to block any suspension. The NFLPA stated that the leagues process was “fundamentally unfair.”
How did we get to this point? Well, it’s complicated. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of he said she said involved.
After a 13 month investigation, Roger Goodell handed down a six game suspension on Elliott for domestic violence.
Let’s stop there and think about the consequences that those two words domestic violence hold. At this point, Elliotts named will always be linked to domestic violence and his agent has confirmed that Elliott has missed out on endorsement opportunities because of these allegations. He will never be looked at the same even around the league.
As we all know, Elliott was cleared in the state of Ohio. So why wasn’t Elliott punished in the court of law but Goodell felt the need to flex his muscles and suspend Elliott? Goodell felt the need to “jump out in front,” this one to save face in the public eye. But, you have to have a legit case to jump out in front of if you are going to do that. This, based on the recent news was not that case. It appears the NFL made a decision with very little evidence and now is trying to cover their tracks instead of doing their due diligence to make the right decision.
Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram wrote a piece Thursday night that highlighted some flaws in the NFL’s investigation and also shed some light on why Jerry Jones was so confident about there being no suspension. Jones was told by a top NFL executive that there would be no suspension. Jerry has been quiet about the situation since the decision came down, although Jerry did confirm to 105.3 the fan that he has plenty to say, but will wait until the right time to share his thoughts.
Other important news that came out of that story is that lead investigator Kia Roberts recommended no suspension should be handed down. Kia Roberts is the only one that interviewed Tiffany Thompson. It also revealed that Roberts was not involved in the meeting that resulted in the six games being announced. Lisa Friel, who has since resigned, was at the meeting. Friel has been known in the past to hide information and one of the NFLPAs claims for the Elliott case was that “critical” information was concealed that would “completely exonerate Elliott.”
ESPN’s Josina Anderson released the below transcripts from the interview process early Saturday morning.
One attorney that has been directly involved with Friel in the past, Eric Sanders says “I’m not shocked at the allegations….it sounds familiar.” The league has since come out and said that is completely untrue.
However, during the appeal hearing, Friel testified Roberts’ findings were excluded from the report, a decision she made with the NFL counsel.
Harold Henderson is under a great deal of pressure from the league to have a decision made by Tuesday. Tuesday is important because if a decision is not made by 4 p.m. ET., Elliott will be in the clear to play next Sunday night against the Giants.
What should the decision be and would Elliott accept a lesser penalty?
The decision is simple to me. If domestic violence took place, the punishment should be the six games. If he did not, the suspension should be wiped away completely and the NFL should issue a public apology for ruining one of the league’s stars reputation. And if the latter is the case, heads should roll in the NFL office, starting at the top with Roger Goodell.
To answer the second question, Elliott cannot accept a lesser penalty because that implies that he is guilty of something and if he really did not commit a crime, there is no reason to accept anything other than no suspension.
Let’s make things clear. Domestic violence should not be taken lightly and anyone who commits such a heinous crime should be punished.
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