With the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott facing a suspension, the star running back will testify on Tuesday at his appeal hearing. Several weeks ago, the Cowboys’ second-year player was suspended for six games this coming NFL season due to an alleged domestic assault incident involving his former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson back in 2016. The news comes after recent reports that several requests by Elliott’s team for the appeal have been denied, presenting possible roadblocks for them. It also arrives several days after Elliott made his debut on the field for the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL preseason.
A report via Bleacher Report‘s Mike Chiari indicated that Ezekiel Elliott will provide testimony today at the appeal hearing. Elliott received a six-game suspension due to his violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. The suspension was as a result of allegations that he assaulted ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson back in July of 2016. The incident was said to have occurred in a parked car in Columbus, Ohio. Thompson alleged that Elliott struck her while they were in that parked car. However, there were never any official charges brought against Elliott for the incident due to the Columbus City Attorney’s Office finding “conflicting and inconsistent” information.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed Harold Henderson as the arbitrator in the appeal hearing. Henderson is a longtime former NFL employee, and according to a report from Dallas News Sports Day, Jerry Jones has also called him a “great friend.” There have been questions raised as to whether Henderson is “neutral enough” to arbitrate this case. Henderson has recently denied several requests made by Elliott’s representatives for the case.
Several days ago, Pro Football Talk reported that Henderson denied a request by Elliott’s team in which they asked for his accuser to attend the hearing. Another possible obstacle for Elliott’s team in getting the suspension reduced or removed is the fact Henderson is not going to allow the league to use any notes that were taken during an interview with Elliott’s accuser. Both of these key denials for the hearing have led to many analysts or those following the case closely to believe the suspension will not be reduced.
However, Yahoo! Sports‘ Charles Robinson has also indicated that Elliott’s team may look towards a procedural violation as a way to bring this case to federal court. Robinson mentions that the “procedural violation” is related to the way Tom Brady’s “Deflate-gate” case was handled by the league.
“The sources declined to make the exact violations clear, but told Yahoo Sports that it involves all three of the aforementioned developments: naming Henderson as a partial arbitrator; failing to require Thompson to appear for cross-examination; and refusing to produce investigative material gathered when the NFL interviewed Thompson on multiple occasions.”
To further aid Elliott’s appeal and its possible move towards a federal case filing is the fact that the NFL Players Association has brought attorney Jeffrey Kessler into the mix. Kessler is considered “one of the most versed attorneys” when it comes to “NFL and attacking it on the collective bargaining front.” In addition, Kessler also represented Tom Brady during the “deflate-gate” hearings.
The Dallas Cowboys (3-1) will wrap up their NFL preseason this coming week with an away game against the Houston Texans on Thursday night. Elliott and many of the other starters are unlikely to play. The Cowboys put in many of their key starters in a Week 3 victory over the Oakland Raiders, 24-20. Elliott finished with six carries for 18 yards in his limited time on the field.
With the Cowboys’ regular season starting on Sunday, September 10, it remains to be seen if Elliott will be on the field. If his suspension appeal fails, Cowboys fans will have to wait until Sunday, October 29, when Elliott would make his season debut at the Washington Redskins.
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