NFL ensures Ezekiel Elliott situation won’t overshadow Hall of Fame weekend

AP

On Monday, in pointing out that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been agitating for a decision in the Ezekiel Elliott case, we offered a simple rule of thumb: If a decision comes this week, he’ll likely be exonerated; if it comes next week, he’ll likely be suspended.

With the NFL essentially announcing (really, isn’t any/every leak regarding league business to a league employee an announcement?) that the decision won’t be made this week, the assumption is that the league didn’t want to overshadow Jones’ enshrinement with news that it would be putting one of his best players on the sidelines for a week or two or however long the suspension may be. But the league is actually doing itself a favor but not dropping the suspension in the same week that Jones will be the center of attention.

If the NFL were to suspend Elliott between now and Saturday, Jones would have something to say about it publicly, at some point between now and the conclusion of his enshrinement speech. He’s already made it clear, multiple times over, that he believes Elliott did not commit domestic violence. So Jones will be unhappy with any decision that Elliott did commit domestic violence, and any suspension that flows from it.

Of course, the league’s decision to kick the can another week into August won’t ensure silence from Jones. He’ll still be the center of attention this week, and he’ll have multiple opportunities to wax eloquently or otherwise regarding the case — up to and including the bronze bust filibuster that will happen live on NFL Network and ESPN.

And so instead of ripping the Band-Aid off in one motion, the league will spend the next week dealing with the sting of having it constantly pulled just enough to never stop hurting, hoping that Jerry Jones’ barnstorming tour of Canton without a decision on Elliott will create a lot less trauma and drama if he doesn’t know what lies beneath it.