As the NFL continues to investigate Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for multiple potential violations of the Personal Conduct Policy arising from five allegations of domestic violence made by a former girlfriend arising from a six-day period in July, PFT has learned that one key witness is participating in the NFL’s effort.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Elliott’s ex-girlfriend is cooperating with the investigation.
In contrast, the ex-wife of Giants kicker Josh Brown declined to cooperate with the NFL’s investigation. That lack of cooperation ultimately was deemed to be one of the mitigating factors that prompted the league to deviate from its six-game baseline punishment for first-offense domestic violence.
PFT also has confirmed that the league has indeed interviewed Elliott. A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Elliott was interviewed roughly a month ago, and that the session lasted a little over an hour. Elliott was represented at the meeting by the NFL Players Association.
The Personal Conduct Policy contains no specific timetables or deadlines regarding the completion of an investigation or the issuance of discipline, subject to appeal. However, the post-Ray Rice revisions to the policy empower the Commissioner to suspend a player without pay if the investigation causes the Commissioner to believe that the player “may have violated” the prohibition against domestic violence, even if the player was never arrested or charged.
The policy contains no specific standards for preliminarily determining whether a player “may have violated” its terms. As it relates to an eventual finding of a violation of the policy, the NFL applies a “more likely than not standard.”
In this case, the question is simple: Do they believe Elliott or do they believe his ex-girlfriend? Ultimately, that question could hinge on whether other evidence pushes the needle in one direction or the other. Absent that type of external proof, the perceived credibility or lack thereof of the two main witnesses will go a long way toward resolving the case.