Dallas Cowboys player Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended by the NFL for six games without pay following a league investigation into allegations of multiple instances of domestic violence.
Elliott was determined to have violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy, the former Ohio State University player was informed Friday. He has three days to appeal the decision and punishment — otherwise Elliott will sit out the first six games of the 2017 NFL regular season.
The star running back can continue to participate in preseason games.
“Over the course of the last year, the league conducted an extensive investigation,” the NFL statement read. “League investigators interviewed more than a dozen witnesses, including Ms. Tiffany Thompson, who had alleged multiple instances of physical violence in July 2016, and Mr. Elliott. The league also consulted with medical experts.”
“League investigators examined all available evidence, including photographic and digital evidence, thousands of text messages and other records of electronic communications,” it continued.
The NFL and a team of four external advisors — Peter Harvey, former Attorney General for the State of New Jersey; Ken Houston, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who played in 14 seasons in the NFL; Tonya Lovelace, CEO of The Women of Color Network, Inc.; and Mary Jo White, former United States attorney and former Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission — met with Elliott in June to discuss the allegations.
In a letter to Elliott advising him of the decision, Todd Jones, the NFL’s Special Counsel for Conduct, said these advisors “were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016.”
In his rookie season, Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards, with an impressive 5.1 yards-per-carry average. He had 15 rushing touchdowns, and one receiving score.
Dallas is set to open its regular season on Sunday, Sept. 10, hosting the New York Giants in primetime on NBC.