Mac Engel

Elliott case stinks, but should lead to change within NFL and its power

Zeke, you got yourself some bad advice. You were never going to win. It’s written in the contract.

The original decision is not fair, but it is perfectly legal and binding.

You were told to listen to your lawyers when you should have just read a history of the NFL vs. The Help. The players never win.

Your union is led by buffoons encased in custom suits, and your boss is fighting the wrong war against a Commissioner with a God complex.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott officially cried uncle and dropped his appeal against the NFL to potentially come back in early December from his six-game suspension. Zeke had been going through all of these appeals to “clear” his name, but rather than prolong the inevitable, he dropped out.

We know now what we feared when the suspension was announced Aug. 11: Sit down and take it. Or at least sit down when the first appeal to reduce the suspension was rejected.

Caving is not always the prudent decision, but this is an exception.

We will see a fresh Zeke on Christmas Eve against the Seattle Seahawks. The Christmas miracle will not be Zeke’s return but rather if his team is still in the playoff race.

We are not sure exactly what Zeke did to earn a six-game suspension, but it was something so not good the NFL could not specify it when I asked its lawyers what rule he violated: Domestic violence or personal conduct policy.

At this point, who cares?

Zeke lost.

So do the Cowboys. Even after he missed Sunday’s game in Atlanta, he ranks third in the NFL in rushing with 783 yards.

All Zeke can do from this point forward is make sure he does not come close to this type of situation again. His boss needs to lead a movement to amend a collective bargaining agreement that, in this instance, burns both parties.

If there is any good to come of this case it is that the NFL and the union will go back into its collective bargaining agreement and put the power of punishment and fines in the hands of a neutral third party, paid equally by the league and union.

We know now conclusively that the commissioner can’t be trusted on these matters.

Chew on this: Elliott, who was charged with and convicted of nothing, will be punished harder than Greg Hardy, who was convicted by a North Carolina judge of beating the tar out of his ex-girlfriend. His 10-game suspension was reduced to four games.

According to a recent report from Sports Illustrated, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones turned on the commissioner he had previously publicly supported the moment Goodell suspended Elliott.

Since then, Jerry has only said that he does not have an issue with Goodell but rather with the power of the commissioner. Funny, Jerry never had a problem with the power that he not only approved, but also passionately endorsed for years until his guy was popped for six games.

Now Jerry has the problem.

Jerry’s points about Goodell’s power and his challenge of Goodell’s total compensation package are valid managerial and business concerns. Both have reportedly been points of contention within the league. The timing is just awful.

It makes Jerry look like a pouting brat whose anger is rooted in nothing more than losing his best fantasy football player.

I never heard Jerry complain about Goodell’s power when Goodell drilled New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games for the Deflategate nonsense.

If Jerry wants to lead a charge to fire Goodell, go ahead. He will be replaced by another lawyer who will bide the whimsical wishes of a pack of old, rich white dudes. He will be celebrated, criticized, ripped, loathed, appreciated and then replaced by another guy who looks just like him.

Sports commissioners are bred to be loathed.

Between keeping Goodell, firing Goodell or reducing Goodell’s salary, the priority has to be changing how the NFL investigates and levies punishments against one of its players who goes stupid. The current method is an unpredictable joke not befitting a billion-dollar organization.

Ezekiel Elliott knows that, and while he ultimately did something to put himself in a position to be investigated or questioned, how the NFL handled all of this doesn’t add up to six games.

Nonetheless, as much as it all stinks, Zeke did the right thing by dropping out.

See you on Christmas Eve.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof

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