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Sunday, June 24, 2018

NFL: Roger Goodell knew investigator recommended no Ezekiel Elliott suspension

Roger Goodell

One NFL investigator may have recommended that Ezekiel Elliott not be suspended based on the credibility of the woman accusing him of domestic violence, but the league wants to remind everyone that one opinion does not determine the outcome of a case.

According to a report from late Thursday, NFL director of investigations Kia Roberts recommended no suspension for Elliott after conducting interviews with the star running back’s ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson. What is perhaps more alarming is the claim that a league executive barred Roberts from appearing at a meeting held by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to determine Elliott’s fate.

That last part, according to the league, is false. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on Friday that there was no conspiracy to keep Roberts away from any meeting with Goodell.

“I can tell you without any hesitation that this is false,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart added that Goodell was aware of any opinions held by investigators who worked the case, and he seemed to confirm that Roberts believed Thompson’s story had inconsistencies and Elliott should not be suspended.

“It’s categorically false that the information was kept from the Commission,” the spokesman said. “The findings were not based on the testimony of any one witness. It was based on evidence through forensic sources and it was corroborated in the process.”

As for why Roberts was not at the meeting with Goodell when Elliott’s six-game suspension was decided upon, Lockhart said her presence was not necessary. The meeting, he said, was “not designed to put questions to investigators” but instead to allow Elliott to defend himself.

It’s obvious that we are heading for yet another bungling of a major NFL investigation, but does that mean Elliott’s suspension will be reduced or overturned? While the acts of domestic violence and alleged ball deflating are in no way alike, Elliott’s case is sounding a lot like Tom Brady’s from a procedural standpoint. While one report claims Zeke’s suspension could be cut down, it would not be a surprise if the NFL eventually has its initial ruling upheld.

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