The NFL suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott six games Friday for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
The ruling comes after the NFL’s year-long investigation into multiple incidents involving Elliott, including domestic violence accusations made against him by a woman who identified herself as his former girlfriend to authorities.
Elliott, 22, has denied the allegations and has the right to appeal the NFL’s decision. He has three days to appeal. If the six-game suspension stands, Elliott would be eligible to make his season debut Oct. 29 against the Washington Redskins.
ESPN first reported the development.
The woman told police Elliott assaulted her on five separate occasions over the course of a week in July 2016, according to the Columbus (Ohio) City Attorney’s Office. He was never arrested and prosecutors declined to charge Elliott, citing conflicting and inconsistent information.
Under the terms of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, players found by the league to have committed domestic violence are subject to “a baseline suspension without pay of six games” regardless of whether “the conduct does not result in a criminal conviction.”
The policy states: “In cases where a player is not charged with a crime, or is charged but not convicted, he may still be found to have violated the policy if the credible evidence establishes that he engaged in conduct prohibited by this Personal Conduct Policy.”
Robert S. Tobias, principal assistant city attorney in Columbus, stated in an email to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero last year he believed “there were a series of interactions between Mr. Elliott and [his accuser] where violence occurred.”
“… Given the totality of the circumstances, I could not firmly conclude exactly what happened,” Tobias wrote in October. “Saying something happened versus having sufficient evidence to criminally charge someone are two completely different things.”
The NFL launched its investigation soon after Elliott’s ex-girlfriend filed a police report last summer. League investigators first interviewed Elliott in October and met with him again last month. Elliott and the NFL Players Association turned over phone records and documents related to the case to the league in May.
It wasn’t the only incident the NFL looked into involving Elliott. The same woman called police on Elliott in Feb. 2016 in Florida, where the former Ohio State star was training prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, sources with knowledge of the situation told Pelissero. She told police she suffered shoulder pain when Elliott pushed her up against a wall. Elliott wasn’t arrested or charged.
In March of this year, Elliott was seen in videos and photos pulling down a woman’s shirt and exposing her breast on the roof of a Dallas bar during a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Last month, Elliott was involved in an incident at another Dallas bar that initially sparked an assault investigation before police suspended their probe. That incident, however, was not part of the NFL’s completed probe, a source with knowledge of the investigation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and Pelissero.
Elliott is in second season with the Cowboys after rushing for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns en route to earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2016.
Featured Image: Kicker
Inset Image: Sports Illustrated