The NFL suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott six games Friday for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
The ruling comes after the NFL’s year-long investigation into domestic violence accusations made against him by Tiffany Thompson, who identified herself as his former girlfriend to authorities.
Elliott, 22, has denied the allegations. The second-year pro and his representatives said in a statement they were “extremely disappointed” with the NFL’s decision and will appeal the ruling.
He was not arrested and no charges were filed by authorities, but the NFL launched its own investigation.
It’s standard process for the NFL to conduct an independent investigation into any domestic violence allegations to determine whether a player violated the personal conduct policy. A player can be disciplined under the league’s policy even if he hasn’t faced legal charges.
In a July 2016 report filed with the Columbus, Ohio police department, a woman who identified herself as Elliott’s former girlfriend claimed that he attacked her several times over the course of a week, including an assault that allegedly took place while she was sitting in the driver’s seat of her car. In addition to filing a report, the woman posted photos to her Instagram page showing bruises on her leg, arms, hand, and neck.
Elliott denied that he and the woman had lived together, and he told authorities that she suffered the bruises in a bar fight, according to the report.
If the six-game suspension stands, Elliott would be eligible to make his season debut Oct. 29 against the Washington Redskins. He would miss games against the Giants, Broncos, Cardinals, Rams, Packers and 49ers.
In March of this year, Elliott was seen in videos and photos pulling down a woman’s shirt and exposing her breast on the roof of a Dallas bar during a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Last month, Elliott was involved in an incident at another Dallas bar that initially sparked an assault investigation before police suspended their probe. That incident, however, was never part of the NFL’s completed probe, a source with knowledge of the investigation told Rapoport and Pelissero.
Elliott is in his second season with the Cowboys after rushing for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns en route to earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2016.