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Cowboys news: Twitter war erupts between NFL and NFLPA over Ezekiel Elliott suspension

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The NFL and NFLPA are openly fighting. Oh, and there’s actual football news, too.

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams
Still the eye of a growing storm.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Far too much of the news about the Dallas Cowboys has been focused on the Ezekiel Elliott investigation and suspension. That didn’t change at all yesterday.

Documents: Ezekiel Elliott's accuser admitted to talk of leveraging sex videos of herself and RB for money - Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports
The coverage of the Ezekiel Elliott investigation took a turn towards the weird and tawdry with this report of sex tapes and potential blackmail.

The woman who accused Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott of domestic violence admitted to NFL investigators having a text exchange in which she discussed leveraging sex videos featuring her and Elliott for money from the player, according to documents obtained by Yahoo Sports.

The exchange is contained in the 160-page report prepared by NFL investigators into allegations that Elliott committed multiple acts of violence against ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson. Within that report, investigators noted a September 2016 text message exchange between Thompson and a friend, in which Thompson raised the idea of selling sex videos of herself and Elliott. During the conversation, Thompson’s friend suggested, “we could black mail him w[ith] that,” to which Thompson responded, “I want to bro.” The NFL’s report also stated that Thompson admitted registering an email address titled “ezekielelliott sex vids” in August 2016.

The texts and email registration don’t disprove the domestic violence allegations Thompson has made against Elliott, nor do they address the central issue of whether violence occurred. Furthermore, the league indicated physical and circumstantial evidence – including bruises appearing on Thompson’s body during a week she and Elliott were sharing a room – was enough to conclude that Elliott committed domestic violence. But with Thompson being cited as the NFL’s only firsthand witness to the events she is alleging, a source close to Elliott said his lawyers and the NFLPA have seized upon the exchange to question aspects of motive and credibility in an appeal filed on Tuesday.

This report was apparently the cause for the NFL to issue an accusatory tweet.

That led to heated response from the NFLPA.

NFL and NFLPA went to Twitter to trade insults about Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension - Adam Stites, SBNation.com
The whole Elliott investigation is becoming a fine illustration of the law of unintended consequences as this is becoming a surrogate battle over the NFLPA's perceptions (shared by many) of the inequities of the current CBA. It may be a preview of things to come when the CBA expires.

The nasty, public name-calling between the NFL and NFLPA probably has little to do with Elliott. Instead it’s a reflection of a power struggle that also played out during appeals of suspensions for Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson.

“They don't know what they're doing,” NFLPA president Eric Winston said Wednesday, via ESPN. “And that's what I think everyone is upset about.”

The NFL and NFLPA are a few years away from negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement when the current one expires in 2021. With the possibility of a lockout and the certainty of a difficult labor battle on the horizon, neither side wants to take a back step during power struggles like the punishment of Elliott.

Meanwhile, the date and person to hear the appeal of the suspension has been set.

NFL sets Elliott appeal for August 29, names Harold Henderson arbiter - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
The decision has been made on who will hear the appeal of the Ezekiel Elliott suspension.

Roger Goodell could have named himself as the arbitrator for Elliott’s hearing, like he did in the case of Tom Brady and Deflategate, but rather chose Henderson. The appeal hearing is set for August 29, almost a full two weeks prior to the start of the regular season.

Harold Henderson isn’t a truly impartial arbitrator – Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk
Florio has been pounding on the league over the questions about the Ezekiel investigation. Now he chimes in on just how impartial Henderson really is.

The NFL and NFLPA have disputed whether Henderson, a former NFL executive, is truly independent. While he isn’t a current league employee, he is routinely appointed by the league to handle hearings of this kind. The gig pays, it likely pays well, and he’d presumably hope to keep doing it.

As of November 2014, Henderson had handled 87 player appeals since 2008. Still, the union consistently has objected to Henderson’s appointment.

“A long-time NFL Executive and current legal consultant cannot, by definition, be a neutral arbitrator,” the union said in a statement released to PFT three years ago, in connection with the decision to appoint Henderson to handle Adrian Peterson‘s Personal Conduct Policy appeal.


But there is still football going on for the Cowboys, and that is generally much more pleasant to contemplate.

Cowboys Excited To See Jaylon Smith's Hard Work Rewarded vs. Colts - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
If not for the Elliot story, Jaylon Smith would be the biggest one from camp. Jason Garrett is very impressed by how he has handled his long, difficult road back to football.

“I say this, and you guys will probably laugh a little bit, but he literally has not had a bad minute since he’s been here,” Garrett said. “And clearly somehow, someway he’s had obstacles to overcome and his mind has probably been affected at some point but he never demonstrates that.”

Long before he ever took the field, Smith’s positivity and determination have been infectious. As early as late season, both Smith and Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones insisted he could have contributed to the team’s playoff run if he had been eligible to join the roster from the non-football injury list.

Alfred Morris battling every snap like it's 'last opportunity' - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
With the outcome of Elliott's appeal unknown, the Cowboys have to have a plan for what to do in his absence. Alfred Morris is doing everything he can to be part of that.

It's not exactly a foregone conclusion Morris will ascend the depth chart yet, or if Elliott will actually be available as his appeals process rolls along, but the veteran remains focused on things he can control.

“We’re always fighting for a job. That’s just the nature of the business that we’re in,” Morris said. “[Elliott's potential suspension is] out of my control. The only thing I can control is me, my attitude and how I approach each and every day. At the end of the day, they’re going to make the decision based on whatever you put on film, I guess."

3 reasons Cooper Rush should be Dak Prescott’s backup for Cowboys - A.J. Mada, Cowboys Wire
Cooper Rush has created a bit of a (backup) quarterback controversy. Some reasons why the Cowboys might want to hang onto him include this.

Luke McCown and Kellen Moore aren’t long-term solutions. Having a good backup solution is like winning the lottery so if the Cowboys think they have something in Rush, they need to hold on to him. In 2007, the Cowboys let go of Matt Moore hoping to get him on the practice squad and he was claimed. Moore never turned out to be elite but at a 15-13 career record, he would’ve been a good backup to Romo and maybe the Cowboys would’ve won more games in 2008 and 2010 when Romo went down with injuries. If the Cowboys think he has any chance to backup Prescott for the next three to four years, why not make the investment now?

Dallas Cowboys Preseason Week 2 Matchup Preview - Marcus Mosher, Bleacher Report
For those who are eager to see the Cowboys play again (and that should be all of us), here is a preview of what should be some interesting players to watch, including one unheralded UDFA that is impressing.

Until last week, Lewis Neal was relatively unknown to Dallas fans. But last week, he got to start at 3-technique and didn't disappoint.

On the second play of the game, the 22-year-old shot through the line and stopped Todd Gurley for a loss of three yards. It was one of the best defensive plays of the night by the Cowboys.

Neal has been a surprise at camp, earning more snaps with the starters every week. Per David Moore of SportsDay, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said he loves his "suddenness" and that's "what they liked about him."

Neal is undersized for a defensive tackle, telling me that he weighs 275 pounds. But his elite quickness and explosiveness (36-inch vertical jump) allow him to thrive as an under tackle in Marinelli's defense.

Scout’s Notebook: Carroll’s Improvements, Taco’s Edge Power; More - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
As always, Broaddus has several perceptive observations. Follow the link for more like this.

I still don't believe that Jonathan Cooper is better a better player than Chaz Green overall, but as a guard, he might be. Cooper has practiced better at the position in the ongoing struggle to find a starter for the spot. Green looks more comfortable at tackle, where it appears he has a better feel for how to play on the edge. As Nate Newton would say, Green is better in space. We need to get ready to see Joe Looney getting some work there as well here in the near future.

What the Cowboys offensive line can learn from the sacks it gave up last year - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
The Cowboys have done a good job over the past several years protecting the quarterback, but they crept closer to the league average last year. Sturm does a deep dive into the numbers, and comes up with this conclusion.

Overall, I would suggest that this is a very good offensive line, but they should expect that the Giants and Vikings game plans of rushing 4, dropping 7, and trying to make Dak have to work to find openings will continue to be a look the Cowboys see. The Giants, in particular, had a wonderful plan to confuse and restrict the Cowboys passing attack. We must ask how well the receivers can get open against tight man coverage, as nothing causes more sacks than fantastic coverage by a secondary.

They did well, but we must hope that in 2017, the offense can protect better down the stretch. 15 sacks after December 1st last year will be something that give Cowboys' opponents plenty of hope to get to Prescott when it counts.

Rico Gathers Enters Concussion Protocol After Accidental Collision In Practice - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
A practice mishap is the first setback for Gathers, who had been emerging as a potential star so far in camp.

Tight end Rico Gathers has entered the league's concussion protocol after his accidental helmet-to-helmet collision in practice on Tuesday, head coach Jason Garrett said.

Cowboys Camp Day 15: All your highlights from the 15th practice of training camp - Blogging The Boys
And here's the recap of all the happenings from camp.

The Cowboys were back on the field for their second-to-last practice out in Oxnard, California. Here are the highlights from today’s practice as the Cowboys prepare for a preseason game against the Colts.