Ezekiel Elliott Is the Latest Athlete to Show He Has No Idea What Consent Means

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott 's aggressive yanking of a woman's shirt to expose her breast to a crowd of St. Patrick's Day party-goers in Dallas Saturday was no frat-boy prank. It was vile, mean and disgusting; any 21-year-old who thinks otherwise shouldn't call himself a man. Much of what's terribly wrong in this story -- both Elliott's actions and the aftermath of apologists' comments -- already has been documented in the day or so since the video emerged.I want to add just this:The Elliott camp has attempt to make this all OK by assuring us that the victim in this incident wasn't mad at the football player for his behavior and, in fact, she continued to hang out with him and his friends.That explanation -- which echoes the same kind of sketchy excuse-making you've heard from other athletes involved in acts against women -- reeks of some kind of implied consent or permission.Elliott's argument, as relayed by his spokesperson -- "she was good with it" -- is the same chilling line athletes fall back on in rape, assault and domestic violence cases.Nothing can be implied or assumed when you are about to pull a woman's shirt away from her body. No one can look at that video and see any evidence of permission to invade another person's privacy. If the woman wanted to give the crowd a flash of her cleavage, that's her business. Elliott would have been best-served to immediately walk away from the sure-to-be-videoed scene. Instead, he decided to step in and take charge of her body for his and the crowd's amusement.How cute was that?It's important to remember all this alongside the domestic violence charges against Elliott that the NFL is still looking into. Those allegations, dropped by Columbus, Ohio, prosecutors because of "conflicting and inconsistent information," involve a woman named Tiffany Thompson who says Elliott abused her on five occasions over a period of several days in July 2016.I read everything I could find about the Thompson story when I discovered it amid all the Dak and Zeke hoopla last season. Looking back, was I too quick to buy into the certainty of those who said Thompson's accusations were without merit? I knew of other instances -- for instance, Elliott's text messages referencing his anxiety about passing a scheduled drug test -- that indicated he didn't have the best judgment.But perhaps blinded by my own fan fervor, I focused instead on Zeke's on-the field delights and on the off-the-field Zeke who opened his heart and his wallet for abandoned dogs.Shame on me. But I won't make that mistake again.  Continue reading...

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