NFL, NFLPA Spar Over Reports On Alleged Victim In Ezekiel Elliott Case
The NFL and NFL Players’ Association issued opposing statements Wednesday regarding Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal of a six-game suspension for an alleged domestic violence incident, with the league citing “shameful” attempts to discredit the victim in the Dallas Cowboys running back’s case and the union accusing the NFL of stating a “lie.”
Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence appeal news
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Wednesday that he was naming Harold Henderson to be the arbiter for Elliott’s appeal hearing on Aug. 29. Moments later, the league accused the NFLPA of “spreading derogatory information” to news outlets about Elliott’s accuser and leaking text messages sent by the woman.
Yahoo Sports reported that a text exchange between the alleged victim and friend was cited in “a portion of the NFL Players Association’s response to the NFL regarding Elliott’s suspension.”
The Yahoo Sports report also claimed that the woman — identified as Elliott’s ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson — admitted to NFL investigators of having engaged in a text exchange in which she discussed leveraging sex videos of her and Elliott for money from the running back.
The NFL cited a July 2016 incident in Columbus, Ohio between the alleged victim and Elliott as the main reason for banning the second-year running back six games for violating the league’s personal conduct/domestic violence policy.
“Over the past few days we’ve received multiple reports of the NFLPA spreading derogatory information to the media about the victim in Ezekiel Elliott discipline case,” the league’s statement read. “… these tactics are shameful. Efforts to shame and blame victims are often what prevent people from coming forward to report violence and/or seek help in the first place.”
The NFLPA responded with this statement: “The public statement issued on behalf of every NFL owner is a lie. The NFLPA categorically denies the accusations made in this statement. We know the League office has a history of being exposed for its lack of credibility. … They should be ashamed for stooping to new lows.”
NFL and NFLPA are really firing some shots at the other side in Ezekiel Elliott case pic.twitter.com/k618OGAHpC
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) August 16, 2017
The union officially filed an appeal of Elliott’s suspension on Tuesday. The NFL announced the suspension on Friday following a 13-month investigation. Columbus officials did not charge Elliott for any crimes following the alleged incident.
Henderson — a former chairman of the NFL’s management council executive committee — also was the arbiter for the appeal hearings of former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy and then-Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Henderson shortened Hardy’s suspension for alleged domestic violence from ten games to four in 2015 and upheld Peterson’s indefinite suspension for child abuse in 2014.
Elliott has not comment since the start of training camp, although he wrote on Twitter that he disagreed with the league’s decision to ban him. The running back is allowed to attend his hearing later this month via a conference call or teleconference.
In a statement made after the league’s ruling last week, Elliott’s lawyers said, “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.”
Elliott helped lead the Cowboys to the best record in the NFC last season, his rookie campaign, by finishing with 1,631 rushing yards, the most in the league. In seven games, he recorded 100 or more rushing yards.
ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 26: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)