The next Ezekiel Elliott misstep could be very costly

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Although the Commissioner apparently gave everyone at the league office the week off, the boss showed up on Tuesday, for one apparent purpose: To scare Ezekiel Elliott.

That’s the only logical interpretation of Roger Goodell’s decision to summon Zeke to 345 Park Avenue two days before the Fourth of July. Usually, a trip to the principal’s office results at least in a brief period of detention. Elliott got only a stern talking to, stern enough to get him to rush to social media with the kind of heartfelt apology aimed at showing that he gets it, even if he doesn’t.

He’d better get it going forward, or he’s going to get it.

That’s the only way to look at this. Goodell essentially has placed Elliott on double-secret probation, with one more false move resulting in a serious punishment. How serious it would be remains to be seen; the better course for Elliott would be to not test Goodell.

The Commissioner easily could have suspended Elliott again. His menacing interaction of a 19-year-old security guard easily could have been pigeonholed into one or more of the various Personal Conduct Policy bullet points. (Assault, for example, can happen without battery, and assault is one of the prohibited activities under the policy.) Throw in the fact that Elliott would be regarded as a repeat offender, and a multi-game suspension would have been no surprise.

The surprise continues to be the subtle shift that Goodell has undertaken from The Enforcer to something more magnanimous. Goodell seems to be more inclined to cooperate with players who have chronically violated the substance-abuse policy, and he also seems to be less inclined to punish under the Personal Conduct Policy players who haven’t been arrested or charged.

As noted after last year’s bungling of the Kareem Hunt case, it’s possible that the league overcorrected following the 2017 suspension of Elliott, which resulted from both a Keystone Cops investigation and a kangaroo court internal proceeding — and which sparked an attempt by Jerry Jones to jettison Goodell. The league may still be following that course correction, confident in Elliott’s latest case that (unlike in Hunt’s situation) there’s nothing else that could come out that would make Goodell look foolish for not suspending Elliott.

Elliott likely won’t be so lucky if he makes Goodell look foolish for giving Elliott another chance. And that’s the bottom line: If Elliott crosses the line or even gets close to it one more time, no one can say that Goodell rushed to judgment. Because, despite his tendencies of the not-too-distant past, Goodell no longer looks for knee-jerk reasons to flex his muscles by preventing talented players from using theirs on the football field.

21 responses to “The next Ezekiel Elliott misstep could be very costly

  1. This is all about the upcoming CBA. Gooddell thinks that by acting soft now the players will forget his prior authoritarian approach and position that he can do whatever he pleases with discipline. He knows the players want to have all discipline go to impartial review and he’s trying to forestall that.

  2. I don’t like Goodells kneejerk overly long suspensions on no evidence or bungled investigations.
    But I see no harm in trying to scare Elliot into not acting like a meathead.

    Far better to get a stearn lecture and not do anything wrong (breaking the law, losing pay) than to do nothing.

  3. The next time it won’t be a 19 year old. Perhaps he will lay the smack down on some high school kid or maybe someone’s grandfather.

  4. Just another example of the mature grace with which my Zeke handles all adversity and why he is a natural Cowboys leader!

  5. I don’t believe that there was ever a chance of a suspension. I’m not giving Goodell or the NFL credit or kudos that they appear to be loosening some of the conduct policy. They created an unsustainable process and further muddied the policy with some very inconsistent application of the rules with a majority of the prior punishments. And before some troll posits that I don’t believe in rules and discipline. I do believe in due process and would just prefer the police and courts to handle that rather than an understaffed, ill-equipped bungling band of failed attorneys and investigators that have neither the resources or authority to address criminal complaints.

  6. When he left Goodells office he should’ve said I will see you in a month because that’s how long it will be at best.

  7. “His menacing interaction of a 19-year-old security guard”

    I have scarier and more physical interactions with my 5 year old when he doesn’t get all the toppings he wants on his yogurt at Yogurt Mountain.

  8. I fear any man who has no issues wearing a cutoff midriff t-shirt on a routine basis.

  9. Zeke will misstep again the only question is when. As a life long Cowboys fan please let me be wrong I pray.

  10. Meanwhile, no meeting with Tyrek Hill who has actually committed domestic violence.

  11. I don’t consider it to some “double secret probation.” The dude has essentially been on probation since he screwed up the first time because he has a pattern of stupidity. Plus why would it be “secret” (ooooh…scary). It’s just a thing.

  12. It is always the next time, please way to many chances for NFL players that continue to show no accountability on what they do.

  13. The guy went to the Reggie Miller school of flopping. Maybe grazed his collar and the guy went down like Tyson caught him with a right uppercut.

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