Stephen Jones: NFL should be more efficient with investigations
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and his advisors have blasted the NFL for the six-game suspension of Elliott under the personal conduct policy for factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions in its investigation of domestic violence accusations of a former girlfriend.
However, the NFL says it gave Elliott an opportunity to dispute the evidence but his team only came up with alternate theories and no real explanations.
Peter Harvey, a former attorney general of New Jersey and one of four independent advisors who helped counsel NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, said Elliott’s responses were only theoretical in nature as how the accuser, Tiffany Thompson, suffered her injuries.
“Mr. Elliott’s representatives argued in a meeting that maybe Ms. Thompson fell down stairs,” Harvey said in a conference call with the media on Friday. “There was no witness to say she fell down stairs, and there were no photographs of her falling down stairs. Mr. Elliott’s representatives suggested that maybe because she was a server, what is called bottle service, that maybe she bumped into tables. There was no witness who saw Ms. Thompson bump into tables while serving anything. Mr. Elliott’s representatives suggested that maybe she was in a fight with another woman and the bruises, for example a bruise to her eye, and perhaps other bruises on her body, were sustained in that altercation. The NFL’s investigators talked to people who witnessed that altercation and it was revealed that neither woman landed a punch on the other, they pulled each other’s hair but they never hit each other with a balled-up fist or in any other way. Mr. Elliott’s representatives also suggested that maybe someone else did it, except there was never someone else who was revealed and identified as the person who would have done this.”
As Elliott and his representatives continued to present alternate theories, Harvey said none were supported by “any witness, any document or any substantive evidence.”
And logic suggested to Harvey that Elliott was the only person who could have harmed Thompson.
“What the NFL investigators learned was that on at least four nights between July 16th and July 21st, Mr. Elliott and Ms. Thompson stayed together in the same apartment in the same bedroom,” Harvey said. “And so these injuries did not just, at least in my judgment, magically appear on her body. So while alternative theories are interesting, in my judgment they have to be supported by evidence and that was lacking in this particular situation.”