In the U.S. criminal justice system, if there is not enough evidence in a case for authorities to press charges, the doctrine of innocent-until-proven-guilty applies and you get to walk away a free citizen.
In the NFL, if there is an incident in which authorities make no arrests and file no charges, you still have to deal with the discipline of Commissioner Roger Goodell for a potential violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.”
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott faced the possibility of a suspension under said policy after an incident in Las Vegas in May.
Fortunately for Elliott and the Cowboys, Goodell and the NFL decided not to discipline him this time.
The incident involved Elliott appearing to restrain his girlfriend and getting into an altercation with a security guard at a music festival. He was seen on video throwing a forearm that knocked the guard into a metal gate.
He was detained afterward, but no charges were filed.
Elliott was, however, called to meet with Goodell, where he apologized, “showed contrition” and promised to do better.
The league said in a statement, via NFL.com, that it concluded Elliott didn’t violate the personal conduct policy.
“Immediately following reports of an incident in Las Vegas in May involving Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL conducted a comprehensive investigation that included interviews with multiple witnesses, including security personnel and others with direct involvement, as well as a review of documentary and other information,” the NFL said. “On Tuesday, as part of the review, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Mr. Elliott to reinforce the standards of conduct expected of him and the consequences for failing to meet those standards.
“Mr. Elliott acknowledged that he demonstrated poor judgment and committed to make better choices in the future. He volunteered to take advantage of the resources available to help him continue to grow personally.
“Commissioner Goodell determined there was no violation of the personal conduct policy and no further action is warranted.”
Elliott, following the meeting with Goodell, issued a statement of his own acknowledging the expectations placed on him.
“Earlier today, I met with the Commissioner to share with him what occurred in Las Vegas and what I have learned from that incident. I’ve worked hard to make better decisions and to live up to the high standards that are expected of me,” the former Ohio State star said. “I failed to do that here and I made a poor decision. I apologized to Kyle Johnson at the time and I meant it.
“I need to work harder to ensure I do not put myself in compromised situations in the future. I am rededicating myself to use all of the resources that the league has made available. But in the end, it is up to me and I am determined not to be in this position again.”
— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) July 2, 2019
Elliott previously served a six-game suspension related to an alleged domestic violence incident that left the Cowboys without his services to start the 2017 season.
He wasn’t arrested or charged in that incident either.
“The police report says that officers spoke with four witnesses, all of whom said that they did not see an assault take place,” SB Nation reported at the time. “The ex-girlfriend was referred to the prosecutor’s office by police, citing conflicting information.
“The same woman also called Florida police in February 2016, alleging Elliott pushed her against a wall. No charges were filed in either case.”
He also was involved in which he yanked a woman’s top down and exposed her breast during a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dallas. Again, he wasn’t charged.
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