In the field of litigation, Tom Brady vs. the NFL was an ugly battle. Ezekiel Elliott will consider entering the same legal arena.
A source close to the star running back said Elliott is already moving toward an appeal of his six-game suspension, which the NFL handed down Friday. The goal is “complete exoneration,” the source said – but Elliott will consider all of his options and the outcomes, including a possible reduction of penalties or a court battle.
“[Elliott’s legal advisers] have been weighing things for a while – it’s not like this was just suddenly game-planned this afternoon,” a source close to the running back told Yahoo Sports.
“In my opinion, [the NFL] is standing on horrendously speculative evidence. Zeke is going to consider where and when and how to handle it, and if that ends up being in a courtroom, that’s absolutely an option. … There will be a lot of consideration given to what it means for Zeke in the long term. There are invasive aspects of this and his privacy as a person will have to be considered. I don’t see it being something resolved with the NFL quickly.”
It’s unclear what route Elliott would take if his appeal to the NFL is partially or wholly unsuccessful, but there are several parties that have some level of involvement in the handling of the case. Among them are Elliott, his attorneys, the Cowboys and the NFL Players Association. The case could impact not only the Cowboys, but also the union, which continues to grapple with the league over the discipline process.
In that vein, Elliott’s lawyers released a statement on Friday aimed directly at the league’s investigative process, accusing the NFL of “cherry picking” evidence in the probe. The statement in its entirety:
“We just learned of the NFL’s decision to suspend Mr. Elliott for six games for allegedly engaging in “physical force” against the accuser. Mr. Elliott and his team of representatives are extremely disappointed with the NFL’s decision. Our offices have been engaged in this matter since last July and have worked hand in hand with the Columbus Prosecutor’s office as well as the NFL with their respective investigations. Accordingly, we are fully aware of the full body of evidence that exists in connection with this matter.
The NFL’s findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions and it “cherry picks” so-called evidence to support its conclusion while ignoring other critical evidence.
For example, both the Columbus Prosecutor’s office as well as the NFL investigators expressly concluded and conveyed to our office (and others) that the accuser was lying about an alleged July 22, 2016 incident whereby she accused Mr. Elliott of pulling her out of her car and assaulting her. An allegation that was ultimately undermined by her own friend’s affidavit which stated that no such assault occurred. The affidavit also outlined the accuser’s plan to orchestrate a story to police in order to corroborate her false allegation of assault. In addition, the NFL’s own medical experts concluded that many of her injuries predated the week in question and likely occurred during a period of time when Mr. Elliott was not in contact with the accuser. During the upcoming weeks and through the appeal a slew of additional credible and controverting evidence will come to light.”