UPDATED 6 p.m. ET:
On Friday afternoon, Elliott's lawyer responded with a statement that invoked alleged text messages sent by the Cowboy running back's ex-girlfriend, where she purportedly asked a friend to lie to police about the incident. That statement said, in full:
We just learned of the NFL’s decision to suspend Mr. Elliott for six games for allegedly engaging in ‘physical force’ against the accuser. Mr. Elliott and his team of representatives are extremely disappointed with the NFL’s decision.
“Our offices have been engaged in this matter since last July and have worked hand in hand with the Columbus Prosecutor’s office as well as the NFL with their respective investigations. Accordingly, we are fully aware of the full body of evidence that exists in connection with this matter.
“The NFL’s findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions and it ‘cherry picks’ so called evidence to support its conclusion while ignoring other critical evidence.
“For example, both the Columbus Prosecutor’s office as well as the NFL investigators expressly concluded and conveyed to our office (and others) that the accuser was lying about an alleged July 22, 2016 incident whereby she accused Mr. Elliott of pulling her out of her car and assaulting her. An allegation that was ultimately undermined by her own friend’s affidavit which stated that no such assault occurred. The affidavit also outlined the accuser’s plan to orchestrate a story to police to in order to corroborate her false allegation of assault. In addition, the NFL’s own medical experts concluded that many of her injuries predated the week in question and likely occurred during a period of time when Mr. Elliott was not in contact with the accuser. During the upcoming weeks and through the appeal a slew of additional credible and controverting evidence will come to light.”
It remains to be seen whether this changes the league's mind or not.
Original story below.
The NFL has suspended Ezekiel Elliott six games following an investigation into domestic violence accusations made against him in July 2016 by an ex-girlfriend. The suspension was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Elliott is expected to appeal the suspension, according to Schefter, and he has three days to file his formal appeal. At that point, an appeal hearing will be held within 10 days.
The NFL released a statement shortly after Schefter reported on Elliott's suspension. The league revealed it uncovered evidence during its investigation that showed Elliott "engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy."
Elliott was accused of assaulting a then-20-year-old woman he was reportedly dating in Columbus, Ohio last July. The woman claimed Elliott hit her while she was seated in her car. She denied medical treatment at the scene of the alleged incident, but she told police she had pain in her wrist. She also reportedly had a red mark on her arm.
Elliott denied assaulting the woman, and he was not arrested. But the woman later filed a second police report and accused Elliott of hitting her on several occasions between July 16 and July 20, 2016. She also posted photos on Instagram that showed bruises on various parts of her body.
In September, the Columbus City Attorney’s Office announced that it would not pursue criminal charges against Elliott. They said they had received "conflicting and inconsistent information" about what took place between Elliott and the woman.
But the NFL launched a separate investigation into the incident and referred to their investigation as "active and ongoing" in late 2016. According to ESPN, the league examined text messages exchanged between Elliott and the woman and gathered medical and legal insight from experts before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rendered his final decision.
As recently as this past weekend, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he did not believe Elliott would be suspended by the NFL. But it seems the league disagreed with his take on the situation.
If Elliott’s suspension is upheld, he will be one of three Cowboys players who will be suspended at the beginning of the 2017-18 NFL season. Defensive end Randy Gregory (full season) and defensive end David Irving (four games) will also miss time due to suspensions.