How will the Ezekiel Elliott appeal hearing unfold?

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With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell choosing Harold Henderson to handle the Ezekiel Elliott appeal hearing, the next question becomes this: What will the appeal hearing look like?

The CBA doesn’t provide much guidance. And by not much, I mean none. Article 46 says nothing at all about the legal standard that applies, the rights of the player to present evidence or confront witnesses, and/or the duty of the NFL to affirmatively prove its case.

The league office tells PFT that the Commissioner’s decision will be reviewed under the “arbitrary and capricious” standard, which means that it would be overturned only if deemed to be (duh) arbitrary and/or capricious. This implies that the question will simply be whether the Commissioner got it sufficiently wrong that it seems random and without rhyme or reason.

It’s unclear what Elliott will be able to do to prove that. Appeals in a court of law typically occur based on a record of evidence that is closed and completed. But the NFL often takes testimony during these hearings, which makes them instantly different from appeals pursued in the justice system.

For Elliott, the real question is whether Henderson will attempt to resolve the credibility of the witnesses, which is something Goodell didn’t do in making the original decision. This presumes that the NFL will actually be introducing its evidence, including testimony from Tiffany Thompson.

It’s unclear whether Thompson or Elliott ever have told their stories under oath. Thompson, whose text exchange with a friend shows a clear financial incentive as it relates to Elliott, has yet to sue Elliott for bodily injury and emotional distress arising from it. She still can; once she does, she’ll eventually be required to testify under oath.

If the NFL is going to stay in the business of supplementing the criminal justice system, the Court of Big Shield needs to look something like a normal court. Players who are accused of wrongdoing should have the right to face their accusers. The lawyers representing the players should be able to cross-examine the accusers.

Without such basic protections, it’s impossible to get to the truth in a manner that respects the rights of the player — especially when it comes to discipline for misconduct that has no connection whatsoever to the workplace.

If guilty of domestic violence, Elliott should pay the price. But the process for determining guilt or innocence must give him a fair chance to rebut potentially false or inaccurate claims. Without those protections, the floodgates will fly open for false and/or inaccurate claims to be made against many more NFL players.

61 responses to “How will the Ezekiel Elliott appeal hearing unfold?

  1. Mara will win this round too. It will unfold like this – The rules say domestic violence is 6 games, it will stay at that even though police authorities and the DA decided not to prosecute.

    Mara 2, Jones 0

  2. Absolutely right, Florio. In addition to the texts demanding money, she also got in a bar fight which could’ve caused the bruises and asked her friend to lie to the police and say she witnessed the beating. Not to mention the text saying they’ll believe her over him because she’s a white woman and he’s black so he better pay up. Add in the prosecutor declining to press charges and you got serious credibility issues for Tiffany and yet the NFL chooses to believe her. Where’s the NAACP? They should be weighing in on this anytime now, as should Gloria Allred trying to help Tiffany shakedown Zeke for money. Heck, we could see a very interesting NOW vs NAACP battle soon… Yep, get your popcorn ready as the circus caused by the NFL bungling yet another investigation is just beginning!

  3. Goodell’s determination was based on credibility, and his witness, Thompson, is one of the least credible people on the planet. Under the current regime and rules any player that is even suggested to have committed domestic violence should expect a 6 game suspension.

  4. its gonna get drawn out and hes going to be able to play until later in the year we probably need him more….quick decision cut it to 3-4 games serve em at the beginning of the season and be done w/ it!

  5. The Second Circuit (I believe they’re in New York – Mara’s home) is responsible for this travesty. The NFLPA signed the CBA with every reason to believe that the NFL discipline system would continue as it was at that time. Goodell and his lawyers used the wording of the CBA to vastly expand the NFL system into the kangaroo court it has become – and the Second Circuit (2 of 3 judges) allowed it. If he court case is in another circuit the outcome may be different but it seems that the only people that can immediately change the rampant imposition of penalties are the sponsors. The fans, NFLPA, aggrieved owners and players need to engage the sponsors in a campaign to reinstate due process protections for the accused.

  6. They will portray the victim as having bad character as an excuse to hit her. It’s the tried and true approach.

  7. CLAP CLAP CLAP

    Well said Mike.

    Anybody who puts any faith in the system the NFL uses know to get to the truth is seriously misguided. And that is true for any issue. Not just the Elliot DV issue.

  8. “… even though police authorities and the DA decided not to prosecute…”

    Workplace issue … not criminal or civil. Like showing up drunk to work. That’s not a crime either, but you’ll still get fired. Lots of things get you in trouble on the job that are not crimes.

  9. The problem is you are mixing up the issue, the NFL Personal Conduct Policy says the NFL can suspend anyone that it decides has engages in “conduct detrimental to the integrity of
    and public confidence in the National Football League.” Doesn’t matter what the conduct may have been as long as the NFL deems it detrimental, you get suspended.
    Thompson’s testimony is immaterial(and BTW I think she is a lying gold-digger just trying to get a settlement out of court)

  10. @ bighoser says:

    Where’s the NAACP? They should be weighing in on this anytime now, as should Gloria Allred trying to help Tiffany shakedown Zeke for money. Heck, we could see a very interesting NOW vs NAACP battle soon…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    NAACP has more important issues, such as why the president thinks the neo-nazi’s and kkk contains some really good people.

  11. Lots of companies have this kind of policies and fire employees all the time for doing acts like this.I am sure that if he was a actor for the Disney corp. He would have been long gone NO questions asked just pack your stuff and get out. Companies are in the precipitation of wrong doing not the facts. If a company feels like the general public feels like there was wrong doing( Domestic violence ) them the company will act in what ever it feels will be in the best interest of the company. They don’t really care about the individuals rights they just care about the company and how the general public feels about the company. It maybe wrong and in my opinion it is but it’s just a fact of life.

  12. aarons444 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:34 am
    Bob Kraft will be exposed as the true puppet master.
    _______________

    Thanks for the laugh and for once again bringing up the Pats like you accuse their fans of always doing, your obsession is duly noted.

  13. So if Goodell’s decision is overturned…he will say this is why the arbitration process works. The players and D Maurice Smith will celebrate. And then the league will suspend him 2 games for pulling down the woman’s shirt and open the investigation into him punching out a person at the club.

  14. fatcamper says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:41 am
    Goodell’s determination was based on credibility, and his witness, Thompson, is one of the least credible people on the planet. Under the current regime and rules any player that is even suggested to have committed domestic violence should expect a 6 game suspension.

    2 0 Rate This

    ————-

    That’s because Goodell lies. He hopes people forget or don’t pay attention, treats the NFL customer like a moron, and he sits there and tells you and I ratings dipped 12% last year because of a presidential election that is upcoming.

    LOL

    I mean, just when are the owners going to rid this pathetic piece of excrement from Park Ave?

  15. aarons444 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:34 am
    Bob Kraft will be exposed as the true puppet master.
    ========================
    Wouldn’t it just be easier to jump on the bandwagon then to keep pretending how much you heart the Patriots?

  16. jonwill57 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:56 am
    So if Goodell’s decision is overturned…he will say this is why the arbitration process works. The players and D Maurice Smith will celebrate. And then the league will suspend him 2 games for pulling down the woman’s shirt and open the investigation into him punching out a person at the club.

    0 2 Rate This

    ———

    The problem is, neither of those things are real either.

    1. He never punched anyone at a club. That’s just another wild internet rumor. Derek Wolfe of the Broncos did, however do that, and Goodell did absolutely nothing about it.

    2. The gal he was with was pulling up her own shirt. While not a good idea to draw attention to yourself in that fasion, for this very reason, the gal he was with consented and was with him.

    There is nothing to investigate or punish him for there either.

    Get it?

    I suppose you want him suspended over a speeding ticket, too, huh? I got 3 of those in one year when I was 22. I didn’t lose my job or have paychecks stolen by my employer.

    This isn’t rocket science.

    Goodell is a criminal.

  17. I don’t understand. How could the truth be discovered if the NFL didn’t have Elliot’s phone? What if there was a text or picture that showed him beating the crud out of Thompson.

  18. tylawspick6 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:42 am
    Goodell will lie and cheat again and Ezekiel should go ahead and sue like Brady should have.
    ========================
    With the understanding that unless he brings it to the SCOTUS he’s clearly guilty. Isn’t that how it works?

  19. redlikethepig says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:49 am
    They will portray the victim as having bad character as an excuse to hit her. It’s the tried and true approach.
    ============================
    Maybe it’s also the correct approach.

  20. Zeke will sue just like Brady did and get this pushed for a year. Then, he will also lose, just as Brady did. The Bargaining Agreement that these moron’s signed gives Goodall ultimate authority. NFLPA has only themselves to blame.

  21. Doesn’t matter what the conduct may have been as long as the NFL deems it detrimental, you get suspended.
    =====

    The players, and their representation, shouldn’t have allowed that to be part of their labor agreement.

    Nobody to blame but themselves.

  22. Here’s a thought…. Maybe Zeke and Trump need each other on this. President Trump should take Zeke’s side (for obvious reasons) and a little Presidential support certainly wouldn’t hurt Zeke’s case. I wonder if Jerry has Trumps digits…

  23. redlikethepig says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:51 am
    “… even though police authorities and the DA decided not to prosecute…”

    Workplace issue … not criminal or civil. Like showing up drunk to work. That’s not a crime either, but you’ll still get fired. Lots of things get you in trouble on the job that are not crimes.
    =============================
    Let’s be clear here … DV IS a crime. It’s not a workplace issue at all. It is a criminal issue and it’s utterly ridiculous to even try to argue otherwise (not to mention 100% incorrect).

    Murder is also a criminal issue. Until due process takes place you still get paid for your job. Failure to do so is an invitation to sue. You know because in the US legal system you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Weird huh?

  24. I don’t know that it should be six games – he didn’t destroy any evidence or impede the investigation in any way. But I for one believe there is reason for him to be suspended under the PCP – however arbitrary it is. Folks have to remember, this is not a court of law. The rules of evidence, prosecution and judgment are different and we have to stop thinking that they aren’t. There’s nothing about this that sounds arbitrary, and it isn’t the only lapse in judgment this guy has had in the past year. He won’t learn unless he gets some consequences for this silliness.

  25. jjackwagon says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Thompson’s testimony is immaterial(and BTW I think she is a lying gold-digger just trying to get a settlement out of court)
    ===================================
    Categorically false! Elliot isn’t suspended without her testimony. Full stop.

  26. @redlikethepig

    Actually showing up to work drunk is illegal…its called being drunk in public which is illegal in all 50 states.

  27. jade429 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:56 am
    Lots of companies have this kind of policies and fire employees all the time for doing acts like this.I am sure that if he was a actor for the Disney corp. He would have been long gone NO questions asked just pack your stuff and get out. Companies are in the precipitation of wrong doing not the facts. If a company feels like the general public feels like there was wrong doing( Domestic violence ) them the company will act in what ever it feels will be in the best interest of the company. They don’t really care about the individuals rights they just care about the company and how the general public feels about the company. It maybe wrong and in my opinion it is but it’s just a fact of life.
    ==============================
    You would be 100% wrong. Imagine if that same Disney employee was found not guilty in the court of law. It would quickly turn around into a wrongful termination suit that would be won going away. The company could suspend the employee with pay at best.

  28. jonwill57 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:52 am

    @ bighoser says:

    Where’s the NAACP? They should be weighing in on this anytime now, as should Gloria Allred trying to help Tiffany shakedown Zeke for money. Heck, we could see a very interesting NOW vs NAACP battle soon…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    NAACP has more important issues, such as why the president thinks the neo-nazi’s and kkk contains some really good people.
    ————————
    You are in a bubble of hysteria caused by you still lamenting the loss by the corrupt Establishment candidate for President. The President never did such a thing, but no one goes to Liberals for truth anymore or reason it seems. I doubt this post makes it past being moderated, but no surprise yours did.

  29. The hearing will go down the same way they always do. Elliot’s and the NFLPA will make a convincing case that Zeke did nothing wrong and was framed by a crazy woman. Goodell and his hand picked arbitrator won’t care, will state that Zeke’s actions over the past year have repeatedly embarrassed the league, and the suspension will stand. This isn’t a court of law and the NFL has upheld suspensions with way less evidence.

  30. Conduct Detrimental…he has shown that on several occasions. They set it at 6 games to give him a wakeup call. They will reduce it to 4 games and just maybe this will ensure that his career will not end prematurely from any stupid off the field issues going forward. I think the NFL is attempting to reel in a potential star for the brand before he throws away his career by being either involved or around situations that could tempt him to make misguided decisions in the future.

  31. “For Elliott, the real question is whether Henderson will attempt to resolve the credibility of the witnesses, which is something Goodell didn’t do in making the original decision.” Nice assumption there. Not attending the hearing isn’t equivalent to not speaking to the parties in question. The link provided in the text does nothing to support the assertion.

    “If the NFL is going to stay in the business of supplementing the criminal justice system, the Court of Big Shield needs to look something like a normal court. Players who are accused of wrongdoing should have the right to face their accusers. The lawyers representing the players should be able to cross-examine the accusers.” If the NFL and NFLPA continue using a CBA for contractual purposes, this chest-thumping over what PFT THINKS they should do will never apply.

  32. “Murder is also a criminal issue. Until due process takes place you still get paid for your job. Failure to do so is an invitation to sue. You know because in the US legal system you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Weird huh?”

    Can’t speak for your job but my job would let anyone go, our at minimum suspend them, if it was known they are under investigation for murder.

  33. aarons444 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 11:11 am

    The players, and their representation, shouldn’t have allowed that to be part of their labor agreement.

    Nobody to blame but themselves.
    ==================
    Yet the same power ceded to the commissioner was in place for Tagliabue and Rozelle and player discipline is out of control. Maybe the magic wand isn’t the problem. It’s the person using it.

  34. reddzen says:
    August 18, 2017 at 11:17 am
    Folks have to remember, this is not a court of law. The rules of evidence, prosecution and judgment are different and we have to stop thinking that they aren’t.
    ===========================
    No. The NFL needs to wake up and realize that until the NFL can provide fairness like the court of law this is going to continue to be scrutinized. Accepting this abonimation doesn’t make it disappear. Nor make it right.

  35. “You know because in the US legal system you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Weird huh?”

    Showing up late for work … being drunk at work … verbally insulting people at work … none are crimes, all get you fired. Weird huh?

  36. jjackwagon says:
    August 18, 2017 at 10:52 am

    The problem is you are mixing up the issue, the NFL Personal Conduct Policy says the NFL can suspend anyone that it decides has engages in “conduct detrimental to the integrity of
    and public confidence in the National Football League
    .”
    ————————————

    Still waiting for Goodell to suspend himself.

  37. Without such basic protections, it’s impossible to get to the truth in a manner that respects the rights of the player…

    Can’t say it any clearer than this! For those writing the players agreed to the CBA and this suspension is within the parameters, you’re correct. However, the player has a right to appeal in an effort to charge their minds. He’s not appealing to re-write the CBA.

  38. The appeal hearing will go like this

    “state your name for the record”
    ” Ezekiel Elliott”
    ” thank you, we have reviewed your appeal…..Guilty”

    should take about 3 mins

    The NFL is losing fans because of both sides…..Diva Players that think they are above the law and a NFL office that is inept in so many ways

  39. All of this could likely have been avoided if Goodell, Bisciotti, and Mara had shown some integrity and properly suspended Rice and Brown, rather than trying to cover things up.

    That’s what you get though, when your disciplinary system is based upon favoritism and cronyism.

  40. redlikethepig says:
    August 18, 2017 at 11:51 am
    “You know because in the US legal system you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Weird huh?”

    Showing up late for work … being drunk at work … verbally insulting people at work … none are crimes, all get you fired. Weird huh?
    ==========================
    Not really. And saying it twice doesn’t make it any less convincing. Truthfully it’s not my fault you want to equate this to a workplace issue when it’s not. I’m merely pointing out the fallacy in doing so.

    It’s a criminal issue and should be treated as such. Or rather, it was treated as such and the workplace blatancy disregarded it and proceeded with punishment anyway. And you wonder why people are up in arms about it. Sheesh. According to your logic a speeding ticket would be enough to warrant being fired. So it’s pretty obvious there’s a line in the sand on what an employer can\should be able to get away with. Even if we can’t seem to agree on where that line is.

  41. Is he being suspended for conduct detrimental to the league? No. The NFL said his behavior after July 2016 didn’t factor into the suspension. He’s being suspended for committing DV that he’s never been arrested or charged for.

  42. theharshestreality says:
    August 18, 2017 at 11:11 am
    Zeke will sue just like Brady did and get this pushed for a year.
    ***************************
    Brady didn’t sue. The league was the one who filed the ditrict court case AND the appeal to the 2nd Circuit.

  43. davew128 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Brady didn’t sue. The league was the one who filed the ditrict court case AND the appeal to the 2nd Circuit.
    ————————

    Yep. Brady won in Federal court, and Roger couldn’t accept the decision, so he had to drag it out, and ended up having to bribe a couple of Federal Appeals Court judges to get his way.

  44. Goodell will hire Exponent to use shoddy science and reverse engineered logic from his pre-conceived conclusion to prove that her bruises could only have come from Elliott’s fists.

  45. mmack66 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 1:16 pm
    davew128 says:
    August 18, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Brady didn’t sue. The league was the one who filed the ditrict court case AND the appeal to the 2nd Circuit.
    ————————

    Yep. Brady won in Federal court, and Roger couldn’t accept the decision, so he had to drag it out, and ended up having to bribe a couple of Federal Appeals Court judges to get his way.
    ————-
    You were doing fine until you made the bribery part. Unless there’s proof we’re unaware of.

  46. Elliott only screwed up about 6 times, before he faced first discipline. Most other get hit, each and every time. But because of NFL favoritism, punishment will be cut in half.

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