With the appeal hearing in Ezekiel Elliott‘s case coming on Tuesday, arbitrator Harold Henderson has issued key rulings regarding the contours of the process.
Per a league source, Henderson has denied a request from Elliott’s representatives to make his accuser, Tiffany Thompson, available to testify. Henderson also has denied requests for notes or transcripts of meetings with Thompson.
Instead, Henderson has required only that Kia Roberts, who was involved in the investigation on the league’s behalf, be available to testify.
And so Elliott will have had no chance to question the key witness in the case, she will have never been placed under oath, and her credibility will have never been tested by either of the people making the key decisions in the case — Henderson now or Commissioner Roger Goodell previously.
None of this excuses domestic violence. But if the NFL is going to have its own in-house justice system aimed at investigating and prosecuting domestic violence, the NFL must have reasonable safeguards in place to ensure that the player has a fair opportunity to defend himself against these charges. Absent those protection, a very real risk of players facing false charges will emerge.