Ezekiel Elliott Fighting Not to Be Labeled Abuser - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Ezekiel Elliott Fighting Not to Be Labeled Abuser

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ezekiel Elliott Fighting Not to Be Labeled Abuser
    Getty Images
    Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

    Ezekiel Elliott’s quest to clear his name and stay on the football field ain’t about you.

    It ain’t about Elliott accepting the NFL-mandated six-game suspension right now, so he’s available to help your Cowboys win important games in December.

    It ain’t about relieving your inconvenience because you’re tired of the emotional swings on a weekly basis as the courts determine whether he’s playing or sitting.

    And it sure ain’t about your fantasy football team and whether you need to add Rod Smith or Darren McFadden to cover for Elliott’s absence.

    This is real life. This is Elliott’s life.

    It can’t always be about the name on the front of the jersey or the logo on the side of the helmet. Sometimes, it has to be about the name on the back of the jersey.

    This is one of those times.

    Elliott, whether you believe he’s guilty or not, is fighting this suspension because no man wants to be labeled a domestic abuser.

    "When you get accused of something of that magnitude, you kind of get labeled as an abuser," Elliott said, "and that's just not me, that's not how I want to be seen, not how I want to represent my family. It's just important for me to fight."

    If he’s innocent, then he should fight until the NFLPA runs out of cash to pay for his defense. If he’s guilty, then Commissioner Roger Goodell should deliver the harshest punishment possible.

    Elliott won a restraining order Tuesday that prevents the league from implementing its suspension and allows him to play Sunday at San Francisco.

    The issue, of course, is that we really have no idea if he physically injured Tiffany Thompson on three different occasions in July of 2016.

    No one knows.

    Not Goodell. Not Kia Robertson, the NFL’s lead investigator on the case, though she recommended the league not suspend him.

    Not the Cowboys. Not the judges, who have been rendering decisions on the various appeals and injunctions.

    Only Elliott and Thompson know what really transpired.

    The one thing we do know is the NFL screwed up royally when it didn’t allow Elliott to face his accuser (Thompson) or give his attorneys access to the notes the NFL made from a half-dozen conversations with her.

    Ridiculous.

    If the idea is to find the truth, then you give him that access and say, “Prove we’re wrong.”

    Being reasonably sure he committed domestic violence isn't good enough. Circumstantial evidence isn’t good enough. The NFL must know 100 percent without equivocation that he did what Thompson alleges he did.

    Elliott will play Sunday against San Francisco. He might play the following week against Washington. Or he might not.

    For a 22-year-old, it’s a burden no matter how much he tries to focus on the game that has brought him wealth and fame at such a tender age.

    Mom and dad provide support, but they can’t carry this burden. It belongs solely to Elliott.

    "It's a little tiring but that's what you have a legal team for, and it's not really my job to worry about it,” Elliott said. “I trust the guys that work for me and I let them do the job. You just take it day by day, there's been so many ups and downs, lefts and rights, you really don't know what's coming up next. I’ve just got to take it day by day.

    “I appreciate the opportunity to go out here and get a couple more weeks with these guys for sure, and I have an opportunity to have an even longer TRO. So honestly, I’m just happy to be able to play this week.”

    All of this means nothing, however, if Elliott doesn’t modify the reckless off-the-field behavior that has been as much a part of his tenure with the Cowboys as the touchdowns and SportsCenter highlights.

    The NFL waits for no one.

    All he has to do is check out the careers of talented players such as Aldon Smith, Justin Blackmon, Josh Gordon, Johnny Manziel and Randy Gregory.

    Each oozed with talent. None figured out how to handle their off-the-field issues.

    Now, all of their careers are currently in shambles. Maybe, one of them will get another chance.

    Maybe not.

    Folks in the Cowboys’ organization have explained this to Elliott They pray he listens.

    For now, his teammates and coaches remain supportive. Jason Garrett phoned him after learning he won a chance to play another  week or two.

    "It means everything," Elliott said of the club’s support. "We're a very close group and that's what family is for, brothers are for, just to reach out when you're in need.

    “And my teammates have done a great job just picking me up when I'm down and making sure that I'm able to stay focused and be the running back I need to be for this team."

    And that’s part of the reason he fights. The other part is to clear the Elliott name.