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Ezekiel Elliott will be suspended for six games after an NFL investigation into domestic violence allegations against Elliott in 2016.
For the Dallas Cowboys, the suspension is the sum of their fears over Elliott’s choices off the field.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Cowboys “are growing increasingly concerned about Elliott’s lifestyle and choices.” Elliott is reportedly “known for frequenting Dallas nightclubs,” leading to concerns over how he conducts himself.
Elliott has been involved in several off-field incidents. In March, video showed Elliott pulling down a woman’s top at a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In the NFL’s letter informing Elliott of his suspension, the league said the incident was “inappropriate and disturbing, and reflected a lack of respect for women.”
Additionally, Elliott was reportedly involved in an altercation at a nightclub in July in which he punched a man and sent him to the hospital; however, he was never arrested or charged with any crimes.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has hinted at concerns over Elliott’s lifestyle. Though Jones had maintained all offseason that Elliott would not be suspended, he did say Elliott is like a “rock star” when he enters public spaces.
“You have to learn many aspects of that,” Jones said. “Certainly Zeke is evolving and being subject to needing to learn how to deal with the media and social media the way it is today.”
As Schefter noted, Elliott will not be allowed to have conduct with the team during his suspension. Schefter made it sound like how Elliott handles the time away will be crucial.
“Now, his young career is at something of a crossroads. Elliott will not be allowed into the Cowboys’ training complex from the first week of the regular season until the suspension is complete. He will be left on his own, where he either can work with the services available to him or can squander the time away, which would raise further questions about his behavior.”
Elliott plans to appeal the suspension, but from the sounds of it, it would take significant evidence in his favor to have the NFL change its mind. Now, the 22-year-old running back will seemingly have to work to repair his image and perhaps alter his lifestyle as he misses a substantial part of the season.