Cowboys undermine the league’s position on Kia Roberts

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Cowboys executive Stephen Jones recently described the team as mere “observers” in the Ezekiel Elliott case. Paperwork filed in connection with the case suggests otherwise.

Cowboys general counsel Jason Cohen has submitted a declaration (an affidavit signed without official notarization, routinely used in federal court) that both explains the harm the team will suffer due to a suspension of Elliott and directly supports the claim that an effort existed to conceal the opinions of Director of Investigations Kia Roberts from Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Mr. Elliott’s six-game suspension will cause the Cowboys irreparable harm,” Cohen states at paragraph No. 6 of his declaration. “Mr. Elliott is the starting running back for the team and one of the best players in the NFL. He fulfills a critical role on our team — both as a leader and a player. In addition to missing six games (nearly half of the NFL season), he will not be permitted to practice with the team leading up to the games for which his suspension is in effect. Every practice and every game that Mr. Elliott misses will hurt our team’s chances of having a successful season and making it to the 2017-18 NFL playoffs and hopefully the Super Bowl. And Mr. Elliott’s missing practices and games at the beginning of the season will be very disruptive and affect our team’s performance even after he returns.”

The term “irreparable harm” has particular significance in this setting; it’s one of the key factors to be considered when determining whether to prevent the league from suspending Elliott while the litigation proceeds.

But it’s one thing for the Cowboys to support Elliott and, in turn, themselves. It’s another to take a direct shot at the operations of the league office.

Cohen, who says he observed the testimony of Roberts and NFL Special Counsel for Investigations Lisa Friel at the Elliott appeal hearing, bolsters the notion that something highly irregular was happening.

“Ms. Roberts testified that she was the only person to interview Mr. Elliott’s accuser and all other witnesses in the investigation,” Cohen explains at paragraph 4. “She testified that she had credibility concerns about the accuser, and that her view was that there was insufficient corroborating evidence to proceed with discipline. Ms. Roberts testified that she was not invited to communicate her views directly to Commissioner Goodell or to the four advisors from whom he sought guidance regarding this case.”

Here’s the kicker, from paragraph 5: “Ms. Friel testified that Ms. Roberts was not invited to a meeting with Commissioner Goodell at which Ms. Friel and other NFL executives discussed the case with him. Ms. Friel also testified that Ms. Roberts was not invited to a meeting with the four advisors who were engaged by the NFL to consult with the Commissioner on this matter.”

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart disputed during a phone interview on Friday with PFT the claim that Goodell did not know about Roberts’ misgivings. Lockhart said Goodell was aware of her concerns, and Lockhart explained that Roberts was not present for the meeting with the four advisors because the purpose of that meeting was to get information from Elliott, not from league investigators.

Regardless, the use of the term “invited” by Cohen implies that Roberts’ omission wasn’t inadvertent but deliberate. And the deliberate decision of the Cowboys to submit evidence that tends to support the allegation of a conspiracy to hide Roberts’ opinions introduces a level of intrigue to this situation that takes it beyond any of the recent controversies arising when the NFL targets a team or a player for discipline.

Put simply, in the dispute regarding whether Roberts was kept out of the loop in order to make it easier to secure an Elliott suspension, the team owned by Jerry Jones has gone on the record to support Elliott’s position — and to undermine the league’s.

45 responses to “Cowboys undermine the league’s position on Kia Roberts

  1. The nfl needs to get away from pandering to the left-wing pc wackjobs and let these boys play football. I don’t care if Kim Kong un, Osama bin Laden and neegan all play on Sunday as long as they help my team win.

  2. The league would not be what it is today without the Dallas Cowboys and the Jones family (and of course a few select others), perhaps they are not satisfied in the direction that the NFL front office lead by commissioner Goodell has taken it in the last few years. So what you would call undermining, I would refer to as beginning a process of reviewing and revising what needs to be changed.

  3. I’m starting to get the vibe that the Cowboys and their lawyers are focusing specifically on the alleged domestic violence issues where the the NFL is pointing at and including all the other indiscretions that have been going on. Problem is, everyone involved has credibility problems.

  4. Been a Cowboys fan for over 5 decades. There is something sorry about Elliott but there is something even worse about NFL investigations. I’m pretty sure that Elliott and his girlfriend had a physically abusive relationship, but the methods the league uses just plain suck. How De Smith allowed the players to okay this pathetic portion of the collective bargaining agreement is completely beyond me. I came to terms a long time ago with the fact that, as fans, we’re “cheering for laundry” as the great Jerry Seinfeld once said.

  5. There’s nothing intriguing about this situation. If Elliot stayed out of the press and didn’t get into bar fights and pull a woman’s top off while the league attempted to cover up his mess…he wouldn’t be facing suspension.

    He has nothing but bad press and we all know NFL suspensions are simply PR moves.

  6. What upsets me here is the league hand picks one person to interview the accuser. Then apparently they don’t like her findings, so they totally disregard them.

    Does anything legal ever come out of 345 Park Ave?

    Wait until the rating plummet this year and maybe the owners will finally wake up.

  7. Anytime Goodell or his minions in the league office say or do anything you can be sure of one thing. They are lying their a$$es off. The whole office needs to go, and start from scratch with a leader with some, shall I say it, “Integrity”!
    Why does the league need 30 vice presidents? it is just a bureaucracy, full of ex government employees, run by the son of a Senator. Enough already.
    Elliot may, or may have not done something suspension worthy. But you can be sure the public will never know the truth.

  8. “Mr. Elliott is the starting running back for the team and one of the best players in the NFL. He fulfills a critical role on our team — both as a leader and a player.”

    He’s a leader now too? Puh-Leaze. How do you know when a lawyer is lying?
    Yep….you know the rest

  9. Self created distractions are such a great thing for a team. Another Jerrah mismanagement fiasco being revealed right before your eyes Cowboys fans.

  10. The perception on this case, like all of the others, is that the league starts with the conclusion it wants and then works backwards from there.

    That is why the league should want an independent party doing discipline.

    Maybe the NFL just wants to keep screwing up so the players will give up something in exchange for a better system.

  11. “And the deliberate decision of the Cowboys to submit evidence that tends to support the allegation of a conspiracy to hide Roberts’ opinions introduces a level of intrigue to this situation that takes it beyond any of the recent controversies arising when the NFL targets a team or a player for discipline.”

    ahh Sorry NO. Wrong. NOTHING “goes beyond” the absurdity of Framegate and the amount of BS slung over such an extended period byt so many complicit in that witch hunt.

    Sorry, Cowboys, you have miles and miles to go before you even begin to approach Framegate up ahead

  12. First of all the taxpayers foot the bill only for the costs of the Judges, clerks , courtroom.
    The NFL and the players association and perhaps Elliot pay court costs and the
    lawyers fees. Everyone has a right to see the aid of the courts to resolve disputes.
    In this case Elliot and the players association are requesting the courts to help resolve
    their dispute. The issue is whether the courts should intervene and in a sense
    substitute their procedure and findings for that of Goodell.
    The answer is no. Unfortunately, as we saw in the Brady case the courts
    are not to interfere in these matters. The CBA clearly states that the players and
    the league have ” agreed” to resolve player discipline in a specific manner. The manager
    allows Goodell the make the call.
    The rub is that the players association technically did not bargain the process. They feel
    it was shoved down their throat. The discipline issue was left to the last minute in the
    last CBA lock out by the owners. The owners or Goodell played the it perfectly.
    The players association could have continued to bargain for a better procedure but
    the start of the season and lost wages were at risk….so they folded.
    So the only way this ends is if Henderson reduces the suspension to
    an acceptable level for Elliot, players association and the Cowboys.
    Gododell and the league are in the midst of a PR disaster. The only way for the
    Goodell to win, is to go all the way to the circuit court ,where he will be
    ” vindicated ” as in the Brady case.
    I am not so sure the owners and the league can stand anymore future
    ” vindications ” of Goodell’s discipline decisions. They have come at a
    high cost to the shield.

  13. Players just have to put up with this kinda stuff for a couple more years. They collectively bargained it… now they gotta deal with it.

    That said the NFLPA shouldnt even come to the bargaining table until Goodell has handed over disciplinary power to a neutral committee and appeals to an INDEPENDANT arbitrator. No give and take…. no conceding anything. First things first…. until Goodells power is curbed there shouldnt even be negotiations.

  14. “My question is who foots the bill for all this courtroom drama? The “loser” or we the taxpayers?

    We the taxpayers are paying exactly the same regardless of whether this controversy is in court or not. The judges and courtroom personnel are being paid exactly the same regardless of whether this case, another case, or no case is being heard.

  15. “Zeke or no Zeke, the Cowboys will be 8-8 at best this season.”

    Lol someone who believes Cutler will lead that sorry Fins team to the Super Bowl has little credibility in claims like that.

    As to Elliott the league clearly buried Kia Robert’s assessment because it didn’t match the desired outcome.

    Corruption runs very deep in Roger Goodell’s National Integrity League

  16. One significant fact not addressed by the Cowboys is the role that Ms. Roberts played in the investigation. Was she a lead investigator, or was she an associate reporting to a higher-up investigator. If she was an associate she normally wouldn’t be invited to the meeting reporting to Mr. Goodell. And if that’s the case, the Cowboys are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

  17. We don’t care if you beat up a woman, as long as you’re on the field to help us win..

    Is that about right Jerha?

    Excuse me if I try to keep my head above above the sea of hypocrisy coming from the cowboys..

  18. If you have enough money, lawyers will muddy the waters so bad they can get anyone off. There are even a couple of owners, that should be in prison.

  19. If Elliott deserves to be suspended, then arguing harm to his team is irrelevant. That should never be taken into account when suspending players. Either you deserve to suspended or not.

  20. Need to laugh at this. Irreparable harm because the Boys lack their lead running back? This is the NFL’s most valuable franchise regardless whether their record is 13-3 or 3-13.
    Aside all of this Zeke is a disgusting human being even if the league office’s procedures are corrupt to the bone.

  21. Put in the simplest terms..the real problem is that Goodell has poor critical thinking skills and even poorer judgement. Any CEO for a publicly traded company that consistently exhibited such poor decision making would be shown the door.

    The NFL is not the caretaker for the morality of America. A player should be subject to discipline for DV or any other transgression that results in a player being charged and convicted of a crime, and or for violating rules on the field.

    They are not a Law Enforcement Agency. They certainly are not an investigative agency. Work on the things within the game like CTE and player safety.

    Through all of this all anybody has is an I think..pro or negative Elliot. There is no definitive proof, just opinions..and Goodell has shown when it comes to gut feelings and opinions he is incapable of balancing the scales and implementing a good decision.

    Yes the CBA gives him full power, but it is an implied notion that the process of discipline be fair to ALL parties,and for the process to be transparent and free from the thoughts and opinions of the public.

    The hard reality is that this case is no longer about DV or even Zeke..it is a referendum on rather Goodell is a good steward of the power bestowed. Think about that..He is so poor as a leader that a DV case..a thing that is inherently distained by virtually everyone..and he botched it..again.

  22. Is the league even required to do an investigation? If Goodell has complete control over player discipline, doesn’t it stand to reason he doesn’t have to consider any point of view besides his own? I’m not defending the man, he’s a very boring kind of scum. I personally think Elliot probably did something extralegal, but no one can prove it. I hope he does win in court and this arbitrary nonsense gets put to bed. But I doubt it

  23. Give the league a little time and they’ll release the data and facts that prove they were correct. Just like they released the data they promised to make public regarding PSI in randomly tested game balls during cold weather games last season.

    Oh, wait…

  24. Look how fortunate we all are to have so many legal and law enforcement professionals from Columbus, Ohio with intimate knowledge of this case commenting on it, not to be outdone by the typical moronic anti-Cowboys crowd. There are only two people that know what happened, Ezekiel Elliot and Tiffany Thompson. The NFL handled this poorly, they have handled every incident of domestic violence placed in front of them poorly. With vidoetape evidence in hand, they slapped Ray Rice on the wrist after an incedibly violent act. Without an intense investigation, such as the Elliot case, they slapped Josh Brown on the wrist, even though he admitted to regular abuse of his wife in a 2015 report the NFL somehow missed. Now with conflicting accounts from the parties involved and a report from their own lead investigator, a woman, that was against a suspension, the case is !eft in the hands of a man that reduced Greg Hardy’s suspension from 10 games down to 4.

    In this instance it appears the league was waiting to make an example of the next case to prove to the world they will not tolerate domestic violence, though if that were true, the penalty would be a lifetime ban. However, the problem with that idea now, the NFL just served up a template to incriminate someone and attempt to ruin their career with at least one lie in the midst of all the other murky details. All of this is ridiculous and sad, whether Miss Thompson is telling the truth or not, the damage is done, Elliot will forever be known as an abuser of women. No matter what success he achieves in the league, there will always be a mention of this incident, he cannot and will not run away from that fact. Miss Thompson will either fade into the background as the aforementioned footnote to Elliot’s career as she moves on with her life or perhaps pursue some tabloid fame to enhance her future income and acquire the implants she allegedly sought.

    The Cowboys, as any pro franchise, assemble a team with the intent to compete for and win a championship. Some do it far better than others, obviously. This situation is yet another PR hit on the Cowboys and an owner that seems to feel any attention is good attention, the $4 billion value of his franchise seems to back up that idea no matter how unseemly that may be. If you’re a fan of sports, the reality is we hand our money over in some form to watch men compete in games they have played since they were children. In many instances the participants grow up and act like adults, in others, they behave like the highly paid, athletically gifted, coddled, “I can do no wrong” boys they have always been. Unless definitive and career-ending punishment is adopted to control their behavior, this is just another incident in the world of professional sports.

  25. Leadership means setting an example for the players from the top. For the America’s team it seems that any behavior past or present is acceptable and will be defended. The continued suspensions and player behavior must be a conspiracy and not a cultivated culture…RIGHT!!!

  26. darthvincent says:
    September 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm
    I’m starting to get the vibe that the Cowboys and their lawyers are focusing specifically on the alleged domestic violence issues where the the NFL is pointing at and including all the other indiscretions that have been going on. Problem is, everyone involved has credibility problems.
    ———————————————
    Low information.
    In the league’s suspension letter to Elliott, they specifically said that the reason(s) for the suspension were from the allegations of Thompson, and the incident at the parade which was considered exacerbating already poor behavior. The night club incident, which was only told verbally by one ‘witness’ outside the club to an officer who ‘didn’t want to get involved’, according to his report. The rest is pure speculation and was never acted upon because the victim said he didn’t know who hit him that night and wouldn’t follow up with police about it later. I won’t even discuss the speeding ticket other than to mention it.
    Makes sense that the NFLPA, Elliott, and now the Cowboys are only responding to direct accusations the NFL used in railroading him.

    I’ll say this again, Eagles fan and Redskins fan need to understand that Lisa Friel will go after them next. It cannot be coincidence that a rabid Giants fan oversaw this thing and came to a totally bogus conclusion.

  27. The question that hasn’t been answered by the NFL is why Roberts investigative opinions were not part of the report and barred from the meeting with Goodell. If the 4 advisors were there, but not the opposing view, Roberts, then Goodell is not getting all the information he needs. To say that it was to get more information from Elliott, then why were the 4 advisors there ? Roberts should’ve been there since she was the only one to interview the alleged victim and then she would’ve been able to compare both testimonies. It’s apparent that the NFL has no business in handling these cases in an impartial and fair matter.

  28. The Jones Gang going after Goodell.

    The QB for the Washington Embarrassments using the franchise tag against the team – and winning.

    The Chargers playing in a glorified high school stadium.

    The NFL is in a very strange place.

  29. alaric411 says:
    September 3, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    One significant fact not addressed by the Cowboys is the role that Ms. Roberts played in the investigation.
    ———————

    She was billed as the NFL’s Director of Investigations, so I assume that she had a significant role.

    Sadly, due to incompetence and misconduct by the league office, they were forced, yet again, into denying the truth of a case, in order to try and fix their damaged public image.

  30. tylawspick6 says:
    September 3, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    goodell done
    ——————–

    If the owners followed their own bylaws, he would have been Article 8’d long ago:

    “The League shall select and employ a person of unquestioned integrity to serve as Commissioner of the League….”

  31. Appears the NFL is just as bad at investigating as it is at officiating. Leave the judicial system to do the leg work. Punishment without conviction is just wrong.

  32. bdwilliams3 says:

    There’s nothing intriguing about this situation. If Elliot stayed out of the press and didn’t get into bar fights and pull a woman’s top off while the league attempted to cover up his mess…he wouldn’t be facing suspension.
    =====================================================

    He didn’t get into a bar fight according to witnesses, the girl motioned him to pull her top down and she drank with him afterwards.

  33. Michael E says:
    September 3, 2017 at 7:02 pm
    bdwilliams3 says:

    There’s nothing intriguing about this situation. If Elliot stayed out of the press and didn’t get into bar fights and pull a woman’s top off while the league attempted to cover up his mess…he wouldn’t be facing suspension.
    =====================================================

    He didn’t get into a bar fight according to witnesses, the girl motioned him to pull her top down and she drank with him afterwards.

    ————

    Where do you come up with this stuff? Did you watch the video? The woman did not “motion” for Elliott tondo anything….and as I guy already under investigation it was a very stupid move on his part.

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