For Pete's Sake

Players Association slams NFL over statement alleging victim shaming in Ezekiel Elliott case

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Associated Press

The saga of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension took a nasty turn on Wednesday as the league and players association took shots at each other.

Elliott was suspended last week for six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The New York Times reported the suspension was the result of “a yearlong investigation into Elliott’s behavior during a six-day stretch in July 2016 in which his ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson accused him of assaulting her five times in Columbus, Ohio.”

According to the Washington Post, Elliott’s appeal of the suspension “will be based, at least in part, on repeated threats, one of which allegedly was racial, that Elliott’s legal team says his ex-girlfriend made to ruin his career.”

Last September, Elliott filed an official incident report alleging harassment with police in Frisco, Texas, against Thompson, according to a story on NFL.com.

On Wednesday, Joe Lockhart, NFL executive vice president of communications released a statement saying the NFL Players Association had spread “derogatory information” about Thompson.

“Over the past few days we’ve received multiple reports of the NFLPA spreading derogatory information to the media about the victim in Ezekiel Elliott discipline case,” the statement said.

“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. Common or not, these tactics are shameful. Efforts to shame and blame victims are often what prevent people from coming forward to report violence and/or seek help in the first place.”

The Players Association slammed the league in a statement of its own, saying this was “another example of the NFL’s hypocrisy on display.”

“The public statement issued on behalf of every NFL owner is a lie,” the statement said. “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. This is another example of the NFL’s hypocrisy on display and an attempt to create a sideshow to distract from their own failings in dealing with such serious issues. They should be ashamed for stooping to new lows.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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