Goodell did not attend Ezekiel Elliott hearing

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Conflicting reports have emerged in recent weeks regarding the direct participation of Commissioner Roger Goodell in the events preceding the suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Although, as Friday’s letter to Elliott makes abundantly clear, Goodell made the decision to suspend Elliott six games, Goodell did not personally attend the most important meeting regarding the investigation.

The NFL, after previously not commenting on the matter, has acknowledged that Goodell was not present for the June 26, 2017 hearing that preceded the issuance of discipline. Deadspin.com reported in late July that Goodell didn’t attend any of the hearings involving Elliott.

“On June 26, 2017, you and your representatives had an opportunity to meet personally with [the four] independent advisors [Peter Harvey, Ken Houston, Tonya Lovelace, and Mary Jo White] to discuss you recollection of the events of the week of July 16, 2016, you relations with [Tiffany] Thompson, the March 2017 [St. Patrick’s Day parade] incident, and other issues you and your representatives believed were pertinent to our review,” the August 11 letter informing Elliott of his suspension explains. “The advisors had an opportunity to engage directly in discussions with you, and to hear your counsel’s assessment of the legal, evidentiary and credibility issues presented in this case.”

With credibility being such a critical aspect of this matter, it’s difficult to make a conclusion about Elliott’s credibility without personally attending the June 26 hearing. While the independent advisors serve as a bit of a buffer, their assessment of Elliott’s overall credibility is no substitute for the credibility assessment made by the person making the decision.

Per a source with knowledge of the investigation, Goodell also did not meet with Tiffany Thompson, whose credibility also is at issue.

That’s a clear deviation from standard legal proceedings, especially where a case turns on the resolution of a dispute in witness testimony and recollection. In most if not all other cases, the person making the decision personally assesses the credibility of the key witnesses.

Indeed, when recalling facts and answering questions on matters that are sharply contested, what a person says is only part of the puzzle. How the person says it — demeanor, body language, tells, etc. — is as important, if not more important.

On a matter of such importance and sensitivity to the league, to the Cowboys, and to Elliott, with one of the NFL’s brightest young stars being branded a domestic abuser under a very low 51-49 standard of proof, how can a reliable decision be made if the person making the decision did not directly assess the credibility of the witnesses?

Here’s the truth: It can’t. While the four independent advisors may individually and collectively be capable of assessing witness credibility, they weren’t the ones making the decision. The person who made the decision needed to be in the room, studying every word, facial expression, and gesture. Without that, the grade on the Commissioner’s decision as to Elliott is incomplete, at best.

44 responses to “Goodell did not attend Ezekiel Elliott hearing

  1. “That’s a clear deviation from standard legal proceedings”

    As you folks are so fond of pointing out, the NFL doesn’t conduct legal proceedings.

  2. What a joke. Just get games going back on TV. I smell a lockout on the next CBA.

    Go Cowboys

  3. Doesn’t surprise me. Goodell is a bigger joke than Trump. He once tried to say his salary would only be $1. And that fans want a team in London. I don’t think a single word of honesty ever came out of that guys mouth. Just rehearsed garbage

    The movie “The Replacements” will soon be the NFL’s reality, except they won’t have a stud like Falco to save them.

  4. If he was there, the article would have been “Even though there were independent advisors present, Goodell did what he wanted to do…”

    I don’t think he can win in this.

  5. The worst commissioner in professional sports continues to act exactly as one would expect the worst commissioner in sports to act. If there is a chance to get something wrong, Roger Goodell is going to find it.

  6. “With credibility being such a critical aspect of this matter, it’s difficult to make a conclusion about Elliott’s credibility without personally attending the June 26 hearing. ”

    Classic, I’d argue this is why Goodell wasn’t there. Because he has no credibility with at least 65% of the fans. The ones paying attention anyways. So yes, credibility is a crucial aspect.

  7. Didn’t a federal court determine that Roger can suspend any player for any, or even for no, reason? It really doesn’t matter who is credible or who did what. Roger has the authority to suspend people and that’s that until the next CBA.

  8. Well he doesn’t make decisions based on evidence so why would he listen to testimony?

    He needs to go ASAP.

  9. I don’t have clue if Elliott deserves this or not. Sounds like Roger doesn’t either! Not sure how/if a commissioner can be impeached but clearly, it’s time.

  10. Good education in this article, well done. How can someone preside over and make a decision on a proceeding when not present? Is it maybe that there was a predetermined outcome and Goodell chose his minions to carry out his dirty work? Not sure, but that press call after the decision said more than I think the nfl intended to provide.

  11. @danbo3330 says:
    “That’s a clear deviation from standard legal proceedings”

    As you folks are so fond of pointing out, the NFL doesn’t conduct legal proceedings.
    —————————————————————————————————————
    That’s right, but the NFL conducts it self as a business and must be fair to the people it employs. Take this for an example, what if
    someone accuses you of sexual harassment and your manager and CEO suspend you without ever listening to what you have to say.
    You would cry foul, totally unfair ? They take the word of the accuser and you have no recourse. Now, you see why the guy handing out the punishment should at the very least be able to hear both sides to determine whose telling the truth.

  12. That’s a clear deviation from standard legal proceedings.
    As we learned from Deflategate league punishment and legal proceedings are 2 very different things

    As Jerruh has said on Mr GoToHell

    “He’s got obviously a very tough job,” Jones said. “Now I see some people doing that, that’s that old violin that’s not feeling too sorry for him because that’s why you pay the big bucks is to deal with the big problems. But he’s doing an outstanding job. I can tell you firsthand that in his spot you have to with people that you are counting on to help build and to help excel as far as the National Football League, I’m talking about the owners, you have to know that you’re going to make some decisions that are very unpopular with that particular group. This is the case.

  13. Of course he didn’t attend. The ability to appear ‘neutral’ so as to arbitrate his own decision or distance himself from it as the need may be hinged on his not being part of the process. Or has everyone forgotten the supposedly ‘independent’ Wells investigation that wasn’t independent at all?

  14. This is what Pats fans have been trying to tell other fans for 10 years now. He’s so arrogant, he becomes sloppy and tells lie upon lie. The lies can be seen in the actual reports or statements they make!

    If the police or the DA did not believe Tiffany Thompson to arrest Elliott, how could Goodell and his lawyers without ever interviewing her?

    This would mean Goodell is saying that the local police department is involved in a cover-up, where they should be suing Goodell/The NFL as well.

  15. Can Goddell be personally sued for defamation of character, wrongful acts, what ever? Zeke will loose over $2 Mil if he sits out 6 games. Cowboy’s fan or not, this “authority” by the commissioner is clearly way out of context of what kind of powers 1 person should have.

  16. .
    Haven’t you ever heard the term, “sentenced in absentia”? Usually it refers to a defendant. However, in this case, it references the judge.
    .

  17. Part of the problem is that the NFL isn’t operating on a 51-49 bar in these cases. There is no “scoreboard”, and even if there were the score could read 10-90 and still have the NFL side with the 10. In reality, the NFL decides on the outcome, shapes the argument for that outcome, and then thumbs it’s nose as logic, reason, and the rest of us.

  18. Here’s the truth: It can’t

    Yes, he can. The experts come from a variety of backgrounds. Not one white male on the panel. He’s letting the experts decide so the whiners wouldn’t have anything to whine about. They still whine.

  19. Why would the most corrupt commissioner in modern American sports need to attend the hearings and have actual facts about the case?

    The Maras told him to suspend Elliott so he suspended Elliott, what’s hard to understand about this?

  20. The outcome of this “investigation” has been known for a long time mara and goodell are complete slime

  21. Ezekial Elliot….the poor innocent bystander that innocently found himself in this position. Randomly chosen and everything…..Goodell and the NFL is such a monster for trying to have any integrity in the sport….especially after the Ray Rice debacle. Not Elliots fault at all for being in this situation….damn you commissioner…damn you

  22. harrisonhits2 says:
    August 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Why would the most corrupt commissioner in modern American sports need to attend the hearings and have actual facts about the case?

    The Maras told him to suspend Elliott so he suspended Elliott, what’s hard to understand about this?
    ———-
    If you actually believe that, heaven help you.

  23. It’s Goodell assuming guilt solely out of the fact the guy he’s investigating stood up for himself. It’s a dishonest way to make a living and why Hub Arkush is right when he intimates Goodell will be sacked by the owners once his contract expires.

  24. So there are text messages from this girl stating she got beat up in a bar fight and wanted to pin the blame on Zeke. And a sworn affidavit from the person who received the texts stating the girl was planning to scam him. Which is probably why the police thought she was lying.

    And a six game suspension?

  25. cadreamer1969 says:
    August 14, 2017 at 5:35 pm
    harrisonhits2 says:
    August 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Why would the most corrupt commissioner in modern American sports need to attend the hearings and have actual facts about the case?

    The Maras told him to suspend Elliott so he suspended Elliott, what’s hard to understand about this?
    ———-
    If you actually believe that, heaven help you.

    —————
    I believe it. Didnt need heaven’s help either.

  26. As he did with Brady, Fraudger imposed the suspension (because only the Commish can in cases of article 46 player conduct) but did not otherwise involve himself in the process so that he can navigate the weak wording of the CBA and personally sit as arbitrator (which in article 46 cases he can) to what was effectively his own judgement despite prior to Brady no Commish had ever judged and self-arbitrated because everyone except 2 of the 4 judges that heard Brady’s case accepted that “arbitrate” means to fairly assess a dispute between two sides. The CBA even states in article 46 that if the Commish executes his powers of arbitration he does so in a “fair” manner. Which clearly he hadn’t. Still, all I heard was hoots and laughs from Jerrah and Romo et al after Brady’s case.

  27. So how does it feel Dallas Fans,, Jones was all in on the Brady Suspension when Science out weighed every thing..

    Zeke has done some stupid things, Punching some one in a Bar, Visiting a Dope shop. Pulling down a womans top, So his conduct and actions are under scrutiny .

    I think 6 is heavy and he got screwed but Kraft was right when he said you all wont like it when he comes for you ,, Suck it up…

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