Dallas Cowboys players and coaches arrived in Oxnard, Calif. for training camp over the weekend, with several players facing off-field issues.
Including one of their biggest names: among several other offseason headlines for running back Ezekiel Elliott, the second-year player has been waiting for months for the NFL to make its decision on whether he will be punished in conjunction with a 2016 allegation of domestic violence levied by an ex-girlfriend.
There was an ESPN report on July 14 that there was “a growing sense” Elliott would face a short suspension for the incident, even though prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio (Elliott attended Ohio State University in the city) did not bring charges.
But on Sunday, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones threw down a gauntlet of sorts to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, telling reporters that there’s not a shred of evidence Elliott did anything wrong.
“I have reviewed everything, and there is absolutely nothing – not one thing – that had anything to do with domestic violence,” Jones said. “My opinion is there’s not even an issue over he said, she said. There’s not even an issue there.”
Elliott has maintained his innocence in this matter since he was accused, and Jones has backed his player throughout.
Whether Jones’ statement helps or hurts Elliott’s case with Goodell and NFL brass remains to be seen; some at league headquarters could want to keep one of the NFL’s most prominent owners happy, while others may not like Jones challenging them, no matter how high-profile his team is.
It was just a week ago that Elliott was involved in some sort of dust-up at a Dallas nightclub that allegedly left a man with a nose injury. However, whatever happened, Elliott won’t face any legal trouble – Dallas police suspended their investigation when neither the victim nor witnesses would cooperate.