Because it’s a timeworn athletes narrative — and readily available, considering he works for Jerry Jones — Ezekiel Elliott is sticking with his story about his Friday morning incident being the fabrication of an angry ex-girlfriend.
Not that he’s worried.
As the Dallas Cowboys’ No. 1 draft pick said on his Twitter account Friday, “Evil NEVER prevails.”
A chorus of experts are likewise also weighing in on the running back’s innocence.
Among them are Cowboys fans, Elliott’s father Stacy, Cowboys fans, Michael Irvin, Cowboys fans and assorted other Cowboys fans, who talk as if they, too, were in Columbus, Ohio, for the 2:35 a.m. incident.
None were, I’m guessing. And thus it is up to the Columbus police to judge young Elliott’s innocence.
When last I checked the U.S. Constitution, the accused is still supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in this country.
But in cases of alleged domestic abuse, particularly in today’s NFL, the public’s verdict often comes unwavering and swift. By nightfall Friday, the Elliott incident was already being talked about across the internet and on ESPN, The NFL Network and even those nightly Hollywood gossip shows.
Welcome to the Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott.
For the record, Elliott was neither arrested nor charged after the early Friday morning incident, which appears to have taken place at the player’s Columbus residence.
The police questioned four witnesses, who all denied any physical confrontation took place. But who’s to say the witnesses weren’t Elliott’s buddies, fearful of the consequences for their famous friend? After all, the scene was a birthday party, or after-party, and the police report states that alcohol was being used.
What I’m having trouble with, however, is that the alleged victim posted photos of her injuries on the internet.
Her Instagram account read, “This has been happening to me for months and it finally got out of control to where I was picked up and thrown across the room by my arms. Thrown into walls.
“Being choked to where I have to gasp for breath. Bruised everywhere, mentally and physically abused.”
Elliott reportedly has suggested that the bruises in the photographs came from an earlier “bar fight” that the woman was involved in.
Really? Let’s hear from those witnesses. Let’s see that cell phone video.
Elliott, backed by his dad, also says that he has text messages that can prove his claim.
But no one is arguing that the player and the alleged victim weren’t going through a break-up. Elliott is simply going back to the old narrative, that a spurned and angry woman will do anything. The next claim by the athlete, any athlete, is usually that the girl was only after his money.
Elliott has said enough. He needs to let the proper authorities do their jobs.
In today’s NFL, however, the rookie-to-be has reason to worry. Past domestic abusers Greg Hardy and Ray Rice can’t even buy an NFL job.
In that regard, Irvin’s words were somewhat misconstrued Friday. What came across as a blanket defense of Elliott — “He said, ‘The truth will come out’ “ — was actually a pained reminder by Irvin of the NFL reality.
“You can’t allow yourself to be in a volatile relationship,” Irvin said on The Rich Eisen Show. “The NFL is not playing with this.
“You have to say to yourself, ‘I can’t allow anybody the opportunity to have a chance to ruin my life in a volatile relationship.’ ”
Elliott is no choir boy. There were stories, not substantiated, before the NFL Draft that he was a big partier. His college roommate was Joey Bosa, who was once suspended after a positive drug test.
Would a just-turned-21-year-old claim anything to save a NFL career that just rewarded him with a $24.9-million contract?
The law says that Elliott is innocent until proven otherwise, and we all need to remember that. Perception these days, however, tends to be what the internet says it is.
There still is an alleged victim here, and she has pictures. Of something. And her words in her Instagram post cannot be ignored.
If she is, as Elliott said, “evil” and fabricated the whole incident, there are laws that deal with that as well.
It is not a simple narrative any more, however. It’s a new and wary NFL.
And you’re a Dallas Cowboy, Ezekiel Elliott.