The National Football League (NFL) on Wednesday, August 16, announced that commissioner Roger Goodell has appointed veteran appeals officer Harold Henderson to hear the Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot’s appeal of his six-game suspension for allegedly violating the league’s player conduct policy.
An hour later, the NFL released a statement accusing the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) of a dirty campaign over the incident that prompt the suspension.
Much of Ezekiel Elliott’s argument in his appeal reportedly will highlight on former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson credibility and reliability of her testimony about the alleged domestic violence incidents last offseason 2017. Yahoo Sports reported that Thompson confessed to NFL investigators that she had talked over the possibility of blackmailing Elliott with sex videos of herself and the running back.
In an unparalleled move, the league released a statement on Wednesday afternoon accusing the NFLPA union of launching a victim-shaming campaign in the press and media to dishonor Thompson.
“It’s a common tactic to attempt to prove the innocence of the accused by discrediting the victim — in this case Ms. Thompson — when coming forward to report such abuse,” NFL executive VP of communications Joe Lockhart said in the statement. “Common or not, these tactics are shameful.”
New NFL statement pic.twitter.com/KJ64RDHVB2
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) August 16, 2017
The NFLPA fired back on later Wednesday: “The public statement issued on behalf of every NFL owner is a lie. The NFLPA categorically denies the accusations made in this statement. We know the League office has a history of being exposed for its lack of credibility,” the NFLPA said, in part, calling Lockhart’s statement “another example of the NFL’s hypocrisy.”
The public statement issued on behalf of every NFL owner is a lie. The NFLPA categorically denies the accusations made in this statement. pic.twitter.com/OFOGQY91Ai
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) August 16, 2017
Appeals officer Harold Henderson — who is set to hear the appeal on August 29, according to NFL Media — will have to navigate through the heated oratory.
Henderson is best known for hearing Greg Hardy’s appeal back in 2015, in which the former Dallas Cowboys defensive end’s suspension linked to a domestic violence incident was reduced from ten-games to four. He has pass judgement of professional American football player appeals since way back in 2008.
The league announced on Friday that Zeke Elliott is suspended for the first six games of the 2017 NFL regular season. The NFLPA said on Tuesday that the second-year running back planned the appeal his six-game suspension to lessen or even overturning the decision.
Ezekiel Elliott will have the full support of Cowboys franchise owner and president Jerry Jones throughout the appeal process.
The Dallas Cowboys open the 2017 NFL regular season on September 10 against the New York Giants. Should Elliott’s six-game suspension is upheld, he will not be permitted to play in a matchup for the Cowboys until the franchise’s Week 8 game versus the Washington Redskins on October 29.
He led the NFL in rushing in the most recent season with a total of 1,631 yards in addition to 15 touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliot is accounted for more than 33 percent of the Dallas Cowboys’ total yards in his rookie season.