The allegations against Ezekiel Elliott and the long running NFL investigation into his conduct has become the story that will not end, but now comes with a surprising new twist.
The possible bombshell evidence came in the form of Kia Roberts, director of investigations for the NFL.
Roberts recommended no suspension for Elliott following her interviews with Thompson during the investigation - a fact Roberts testified to during the appeals hearing with Henderson, according to a source.
Even more bizarre:
Even more troubling is that when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell conducted a meeting to discuss discipline for Elliott, it included Lisa Friel, the senior vice president for investigations, Jeff Pash, executive vice president and general counsel and Adolpho Birch, senior vice president of labor policy and government affairs, among others.
But Roberts was not at the meeting, where Friel recommended a six-game suspension to Goodell.
It was testified during the appeal hearing that Friel barred Roberts from the meeting, per a source.
Ezekiel Elliott files suit against the NFL in federal district court - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Ezekiel Elliott and the NFL Players Association aren't waiting for the appeals process to come to an end and filed suit Thursday night in hopes of gaining a temporary injunction to block his six-game suspension, allowing him to play until the matter is resolved.
Among other things, the suit alleges a "League-orchestrated conspiracy by senior NFL executives [...] to hide critical information."
The third deprival of fairness, per the lawsuit, was the arbitrator’s refusal to compel the testimony of Goodell, who imposed Elliott’s discipline.
Without testimony from the commissioner, the suit says, it is not possible to determine the full impact of the conspiracy, or precisely what Goodell knew or did not know about his co-lead investigator’s conclusion that there was not sufficient credible evidence to proceed with any discipline.
And because Goodell was not required to testify, it was impossible for Elliott to learn additional critical facts, such as: who decided to exclude Roberts from the meeting with the Commissioner’s outside expert advisers on June 26; who asked Friel what the investigators had concluded with respect to the credibility of the charges (notwithstanding that the panel’s inquiry was never informed by Roberts’ credibility determination to begin with); or who decided not to include Roberts in Goodell’s meeting to discuss the findings of the disciplinary investigation.
Elliott alleges existence of a “conspiracy” to suspend him – Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk
Florio points out that this case has the potential to result in wide-ranging changes at the top of the NFL.
A case that already has been nasty has gotten even nastier. And what appears to be a clumsily constructed case against Ezekiel Elliott could be on the verge of a collapse. And the collapse could shake the foundation of 345 Park Avenue.
If, as the petition claims, Roberts was kept away from key meetings that resulted in the suspension, the entire case against Elliott could implode.
At a minimum (if the claim of Roberts’ non-involvement is accurate), Goodell should be required to vacate the discipline and make the decision all over again, with the full benefit of Roberts’ conclusions and opinions being shared both with Goodell and the outside experts.
Separate questions will arise regarding whether and to what extent this highly irregular circumstance (if, again, the allegations are accurate) could or should affect the ongoing employment of various persons whose fingerprints are on the alleged conspiracy. Depending upon how deep the rabbit hole goes, it’s possible that the ensuing shakeup could go all the way to the very top of the organization.
Internally, some people at the league office are very worried about the impending fallout from the Ezekiel Elliott situation.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) September 1, 2017
If these allegations in the Elliott lawsuit are true, some high-level people currently working at 345 Park Avenue eventually won't be.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 1, 2017
If this football thing fails to work out for Dez Bryant, there is also the possibility that #88 could make his living by raising funds in a call center. Listen as Dez gets a million dollar contribution for his boss, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Dez was not the only Cowboys player helping out. The team has stepped up to the plate big time, and not just by donating their time to answer a few calls.
“This thing is more important than football right now,” Sean Lee said. “It’s time to step up for the community, time to step up for Texas – all the victims of Hurricane Harvey.”
With a group of competitive guys doing their utmost to out do each other, the real winners were the people in the flood ravaged portion of Texas.
Expectations are high for the Cowboys first round selection, as they should be. They also need to be realistic. Taco is still a later blooming college talent who will now be facing some of the best offensive linemen that football has to offer.
Cowlishaw gives us his take on what is realistic for Taco this season as well as what he looks to see out of some other Cowboys.
Six sacks and some solid play. I think it would be crazy to expect 10 sacks. This team hasn't had a 10-sack player since Jason Hatcher. That seems like ages ago. Charlton might be overplayed in the first couple of games due to the suspensions. Not sure he's really ready to handle the run although the Giants and Broncos are not great running teams. Bigger test comes in Week 3 against David Johnson and the Cards.
We see a lot of press from those whose business is covering the Dallas Cowboys, but sometimes an outside view gives a different perspective. Sports Illustrated gives us a peek at how they view Dallas and its players in this post.
It’s a shame that 2016 sixth-round cornerback Anthony Brown had some coverage gaffes on grand stages like Thanksgiving Day and Sunday Night Football. That misrepresented what was otherwise a tremendous season. Brown thrived in the slot and outside, where he showed a great sense for forcing vertical receivers into the sideline. With second-round rookie Chidobe Awuzie and third-rounder Jourdan Lewis now aboard, plus ex-Eagle Nolan Carroll signing in free agency, Brown will have to shine again just to get on the field. The guess here is that he will.
As fans we all want to say “C’mon Jerry, just pay the man.” but contract negotiations are much more involved than just agreeing on a price. The team and Martin’s agent will eventually come to an agreement that will insure that Zack Martin remains in Dallas, but there is still work to be done.
“We’re hopefully making some progress,” Jones told reporters. “But those things, can’t really comment on them until they’re done or not done. Obviously the goal for both sides has been to be done with everything by the end of the season.”
Not that anyone here needs much to get them fired up for football, but my fellow BTB writer VAFan provides a dose of motivation anyhow.
Dak will need to continue protecting the football. But he’s certain to see the field better, understand the playbook better, and be able to execute plays better than he did last year. All of this bodes well for Dak figuring out the Giants, and once he does, the rest of the NFL better beware!
Bring on that team from the Big Apple. Let’s get it started.