The NFLPA is not taking the NFL’s accusatory statements lying down.
After the NFL slammed the NFLPA in a statement Wednesday over Ezekiel Elliott’s domestic violence case, the players’ union offered a strongly-worded response to the league’s accusations of misinformation and victim-blaming.
The public statement issued on behalf of every NFL owner is a lie. The NFLPA categorically denies the accusations made in this statement. pic.twitter.com/OFOGQY91Ai
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) August 16, 2017
The union does not hold back, accusing the league of “hypocrisy” and claiming they lack credibility.
This public battle began with this story, which the NFL believed was spread by the NFLPA in an attempt to undermine the credibility of Elliott’s accuser, Tiffany Thompson.
The battle over Ezekiel Elliott’s domestic violence suspension is getting very ugly, even between the NFL and its players’ union.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the league was extremely critical of the NFLPA, accusing them of spreading “derogatory information” about Elliott’s accuser Tiffany Thompson and outright suggesting the union engaged in victim-blaming tactics in an attempt to discredit her.
New NFL statement pic.twitter.com/KJ64RDHVB2
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) August 16, 2017
The statement appears to be in response to this explosive report, as Elliott’s lawyers try to paint Thompson as someone who was out to get the Dallas Cowboys running back.
This is almost certainly not the last we’ll hear about Thompson, particularly if those close to Elliott are any indication. It has the potential to get very ugly between the league and the players’ association if this keeps up.
Ezekiel Elliott is preparing to appeal his six-game suspension, and his legal team is going to aim to destroy the credibility of the running back’s ex-girlfriend in an attempt to have the ban reduced or overturned.
In order to accomplish that goal, one of the subjects Elliott’s lawyers are planning to dive into is a conversation Tiffany Thompson, the woman Elliott is accused of assaulting, had with a friend about blackmailing Elliott. According to documents obtained by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, Thompson pondered the idea extorting Elliott or selling sex tapes featuring her and the Dallas Cowboys star.
The NFL was aware of the exchange and wrote about it in its 160-page report:
“The League’s forensic experts also recovered evidence from Ms. Thompson’s phone that she had registered an email address titled, “ezekielelliott sex vids” during the month of August, 2016. In addition, a text message with her friend [name withheld by Yahoo] was recovered that showed them talking about their need to make more money and Ms. Thompson raised the idea of selling the sex tapes she had of herself and Mr. Elliott. Her friend [name withheld] said they should blackmail Mr. Elliott with them, they’d be “millionaires”. Ms. Thompson replied that she’d like to but was scared. When Ms. Thompson was asked about this by the League’s investigators, she stated that she did have sex tapes of her and Mr. Elliott on her phone and she did open the email account but she denied doing so to blackmail Mr. Elliott.”
Yahoo included some of the actual text messages, including one where Thompson told her friend she wants to sell the tapes but is “scared.” When the friend suggested they demand $10,000 from Elliott to make the tapes go away, Thompson replied, “10k B—- I want 20K. Go big or go home.”
As we mentioned previously when discussing the formal complaint Elliott filed against Thompson, the credibility issues likely contributed to prosecutors not pursuing a case against Elliott. However, all of this information was uncovered by the NFL in its year-long investigation, and the league still chose to suspend Elliott. That doesn’t bode well for Zeke.
Ezekiel Elliott has officially filed an appeal of his 6-game suspension.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the news about Elliott and says a hearing must be scheduled within 10 days.
Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott officially has appealed his 6-game suspension, per source. A hearing now must be scheduled within 10 days.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 15, 2017
The NFL suspended Elliott six games for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. He was not charged by Ohio authorities in his domestic violence case because of questions over the accuser’s credibility. However, the league conducted its own research and found the allegations to be enough to suspend the Dallas Cowboys running back.
Elliott could seek an injunction that would temporarily block the suspension, allowing him to play until his case is completely resolved.
Ezekiel Elliott is expected to file an appeal of his six-game suspension this week, and the Dallas Cowboys running back’s attempt to get the ban reduced or overturned will center on trying to call his ex-girlfriend’s credibility into question.
Elliott was suspended after the NFL announced that its investigation found “credible evidence” that the 22-year-old got physical with ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson roughly a year ago. According to documents obtained by Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram, Thompson told Elliott in text messages that she is going to “ruin (his) life.” Elliott also claims he is certain Thompson told him, “You are a black male athlete. I’m a white girl. They are not going to believe you.”
While the NFL is almost certainly aware of those details from the case, highlighting them will likely be the basis of Elliott’s defense. His representatives could also call attention to an incident report Elliott filed on Sept. 5, 2016 alleging that Thompson was harassing him. Documents that were obtained by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com show that Elliott complained of receiving “50-plus” phone calls from Thompson in a roughly eight-hour span. Elliott says he answered when Thompson called from a blocked number and told her she is not supposed to be contacting him.
Elliott also told police that Thompson hacked into his email account to obtain phone numbers and call people he had been in contact with to say “untruthful things that can hurt his image.”
Many of these details likely played a role in why prosecutors decided to not file charges against Elliott, but it would be a surprise if any of this information is news to the NFL after a year of investigating. No matter what Elliott’s father says about the six-game suspension, the chances of it being reduced or overturned are not great.
The father of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott looks to be fully supportive of his son’s efforts to fight his six-game suspension.
Stacy Elliott posted on Twitter Monday that his son’s legal team is “ready to fight,” even stating that Elliott was the victim of a “plot” and sharing a portion of an article that raises questions about the accuser’s reliability and truthfulness.
My son's legal team is ready to fight! Let's deal!!! You will know the set up and PLOT! pic.twitter.com/GSt7QTJehs
— Ambassador Elliott (@stacy_elliott) August 14, 2017
It is now clear that the running back plans to exhaust all of his legal options in fighting a six-game suspension he feels is unjust, and has the backing of the organization and his family. It’s a move that could ultimately backfire, however.
Ezekiel Elliott is planning to appeal his six-game suspension in hopes of having it reduced or overturned, but is there a chance he could actually end up being banned for more than six games in 2017?
The short answer is yes.
Elliott has been suspended for the first six games of the season for what the NFL deemed “credible evidence” of domestic violence, despite the running back not facing any charges when his ex-girlfriend accused him of assault. As we know, Elliott has been involved in a number of other off-field incidents, so the Dallas Cowboys should be concerned that his suspension has nothing to do with those.
Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News notes that the NFL only looked into the domestic violence allegations against Elliott in addition to the video in March that showed the star running back exposing a woman’s breast at a St. Patrick’s Day parade. The league determined that the latter incident did not warrant further investigation or disciplinary action, but what about Elliott’s alleged involvement in a recent bar fight?
A man had his nose broken when he was punched in the face in a July 16 incident at a Dallas bar, and Elliott was said to have been involved in some capacity. While no charges were filed, the extent of Elliott’s involvement is unclear. The league already disciplined Elliott after conducting its own investigation into the domestic violence allegations against him, so there’s a chance more games could be tacked onto the 22-year-old’s suspension if something similar happens with the bar altercation.
When you read the intense warning the NFL issued to Elliott, it’s easy to get the impression that the former Ohio State star is on incredibly thin ice. While he is reportedly prepared to take the NFL to court, Cowboys fans may have to worry about six games being the minimum ban for Zeke.