The NFL suspended former Ohio State and Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for the first six games of the season without pay, the league announced Friday. The league also added that he should have no more violations of league policy, and could face a potential ban from the league if he is found to be in violation of any more rules.
In a letter addressed to Elliott from the NFL and its chief disciplinary officer Byron Todd Jones, the league cites that Elliott used physical force against his alleged girlfriend Tiffany Thompson in 2016. A separate incident in which Elliott pulled down a woman’s shirt at a bar this year was also cited, though the letter states that it will not be considered separately for any additional discipline.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Elliott is expected to appeal the suspension. He must file the appeal within the next three business days, and a subsequent hearing must be scheduled within 10 days after the appeal is made official.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is expected to appeal 6-game suspension, per sources. Has three business days to file appeal.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 11, 2017
Elliott’s incident with Thompson allegedly took place during the week of July 16, 2016, and had been investigated by the city of Columbus. However, the Columbus Division of Police made no arrest, and a decision by the Columbus City Attorney’s office was made to not prosecute Elliott for the incident.
The NFL investigated Elliott and determined that there was substantial evidence backing Thompson’s claims, citing three separate instances in 2016 on July 17, 19 and 21 where Thompson was physically abused by Elliott.
On July 17, he reportedly caused injuries to Thompsons’ arms, neck and shoulders, claims that were backed up by several photographs of the injuries. Two days later, he reportedly again caused injuries to Thompson’s face, arms, wrist and hands. There were more photographs provided to back up the claims. Then on July 21, he was reported to have used force again to injure Thompson’s face, neck, arms, knee and hips. More photographs were provided, and medical experts confirmed the photographs backed up the claims made by Thompson.
Though Elliott was never charged with any crimes, the letter states that players may still be suspended if evidence is found to support conduct prohibited by the league.
The league finished the letter by saying that Elliott is also required to engage in a clinical evaluation by a qualified professional. He is expected to follow through with any recommendations of treatment or counseling provided by that professional.