Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension is the story that just won’t go away for the NFL, and a lot of that has to do with the way the league has handled it.
It’s rather obvious that commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL wanted to make an example out of Elliott, who’s one of the brightest young stars in the game, and in theory, most clear-headed fans should want the NFL to come down hard on players involved in domestic incidents. The leaks in the case against Elliott are many, though.
First of all, he was never officially charged with domestic violence, though it was alleged against him by an ex-girlfriend. It was certainly an incident well worth looking into for the NFL because at the very least the personal conduct policy could have been violated, but the way the league investigated Elliott was amateurish, to say the least.
The investigators never actually interviewed Elliott about the incident, for one. To make matters worse, they didn’t even investigate his accuser. The cherry on top of the botched investigation was the fact that the lead investigator, Kia Roberts, recommended that the league didn’t suspend Elliott, yet Goodell did so anyway.
All-in-all, this hasn’t been a good look for the NFL at all, and it’s about to get worse. Cowboys’ Insider Mike Fisher is reporting that the judge who is overseeing Elliott’s lawsuit against the NFL down in Texas, Amos Mazzant, is “very troubled” by what he’s seen from the NFL so far.
Fisher explained what he’s hearing a bit more in an article on Scout.com:
*Mazzant seemingly being truly troubled by the NFL’s arguable lack of “fundamental fairness,’’ opens up, maybe more than many expected, the possibility of the judge granting a temporary restraining order (by Mazzant’s own self-imposed 5 p.m. Friday deadline), and a real chance at a “win’’ beyond that: Mazzant could order a preliminary injunction’— a “thou shalt not’’ action blocking the league from sidelining Elliott — that figures to take the entire season to unravel.
Now that this case is in the courts there’s the potential for it to get really ugly for the NFL. The league has looked bad before in its handling of player suspensions (See: Tom Brady, Deflategate), and the court system is not afraid to check the NFL and put it in its place if the league seems to overstep its bounds.
When Elliott can return to the field in 2017 is still a huge question mark, but without a doubt, it seems like the NFL’s suspension of him is on the ropes.