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Zeke Elliott Fiasco Another Example of Roger Goodell’s Leadership Flaws

The NFL issued Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott a six-game suspension last month for violating its domestic violence policy.

The NFL issued Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott a six-game suspension last month for violating its domestic violence policy. 

Ezekiel Elliott on Twitter

https://t.co/NYTawLdplN

Elliott appealed. The NFL’s designated arbitrator, Harold Henderson, upheld the full discipline Tuesday night, but Zeke is eligible to play on Sunday.

The Shadow League on Twitter

Ezekiel Elliott suspension upheld but he’s eligible to play in Week 1: https://t.co/hzJ625sXHr


In anticipation of this outcome, the NFL Players Association filed a motion last week for a temporary restraining order (TRO). If granted, the TRO would freeze the suspension while Elliott and/or the NFLPA pursue a lawsuit to get the suspension overturned permanently.


Elliotts camp will find out by Friday afternoon if the TRO is granted.  The hearing took place Tuesday evening in U.S. District Court in Sherman, Texas, in front of Judge Amos Mazzant III. But because it will take Mazzant a few days to decide whether to grant the TRO, the NFL decided to allow Elliott to play Sunday night — even if the motion is denied.

Dallas Cowboys on Twitter

NFL files motion to dismiss NFLPA lawsuit for temporary restraining order in case of #Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott ” https://t.co/8ClnnfA6XC

Elliott would be looking at a Week 9 return, which would be a disastrous situation for himself and the Cowboys. But regardless of the outcome, this is an ugly situation and the NFL has set the miserable precedent for how Goodells final chapter as NFL Commissioner is going to be defined. 


Zekes camp is calling his suspension a flat out conspiracy.  The owners just put another $40 million per year in NFL commissioner Roger Goodells pockets.  He is already bought and sold. He has no credibility among the players, fans or most of the league, but he is the top dawg and he makes the owners bread so they keep him in position. 

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Thats really the point here. The NFL, Ezekiel Elliott, and former Brooklyn District Attorney and NFL special investigator Kia Roberts are victims in a billion dollar scheme. The fans are just the fools. The conspiracy against Zeke is part of a larger conspiracy. The NFL owners know that Roger Goodell lacks certain decision-making abilities and a certain touch with situations of social importance. And thats understandable because he is a businessman first. However, the owners have clearly chosen to keep someone in power because he is a top earner, despite the fact that he lacks leadership skills in a number of vital areas. 


The Shadow League on Twitter

@RobParkerFS1 explains why few have confidence in Roger Goodell when it comes to dealing with player misconduct: https://t.co/TJytxQruFi

The NFL has made a ton of money, but the character of the league and its reputation have taken a hit during Goodells tenure. Now,  the NFL’s executive arms are moving like Bud Selig did in a desperate attempt to protect his power and that of his ruling collective during the PED era. MLB’s greatest superstars were sacrificed. Didn’t matter if they tested positive or not. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire has became the go-to move. Make it look good for the cameras.  

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Similarly, the owners have set a path for the NFL by giving Goodell another contract, that will see more situations such as this Zeke Elliott fiasco stain the league, and make its leadership look absolutely ridiculous and untrustworthy.  

Instead of doing the right thing, a bunch of rich folks and their cronies sat in a private room and decided to railroad one of their young, black superstars so that they could look tough on domestic violence. Lets call it what it is. Youre not downplaying or minimizing domestic violence because you want to get the facts of the situation accurate. The people that want to see Zeke get treated fairly arent supporting domestic violence. Its not fair to make Zeke pay because Ray Rice assaulted his wife on video and it became Roger Goodells nightmare moment and revealed his lack of savvy under pressure. 

What the NFL certainly can’t do is try to make up for all of Goodells past blown calls and ball drops by doing a young brother dirty. The punishment must fit the crime and according to the law and a woman whose reputation is beyond reproach having served nine years in the Brooklyns Attorneys Office in New York City dealing with hundreds of complicated and high profile cases, Zeke Elliott shouldn’t have been suspended. 



Goodell took the advice of Lisa Friel, his senior vice president/special counsel for investigations because she told him what he wanted to hear. As an African-American man things like this just bother me because it doesnt look or feel right at all. 


Willow Davis on Twitter

@minakimes Let’s hear your comments about racist Lisa Friel(Diehard Giants fan) Josh Brown vs Zeke suspension…she withheld evidence. @TheHerd @sn_nfl

Any person can see this was a setup. Zeke didn’t get a fair shake. He was victimized by a league who is trying to paint him as a victimizer. His suspension is bogus. He is at least suing the league and that move is justified under the circumstances. 

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I don’t know why anyone would be saying otherwise, unless they were Giants fans. Of course, Henderson, who is hired by the NFL has to uphold the decision. And lost in this smokescreen of innuendo, ulterior motives and forced narratives is the fact that they did Roberts, a sister with a sterling reputation, dirty by excluding her from the disciplinary hearing and totally ignoring her recommendation. Its clear that Goodell and company had already decided to sacrifice the brother to strengthen their reputation. 

The entire situation stinks and Elliotts people will not go down without a fight, but the mess has become bigger than just football or another player who is accused of domestic violence against women The NFL is playing games with people’s lives and reputations and this kind of back-door bullying, lack of credibility and failed leadership will eventually damage the league. 


JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The Deputy Editor and Senior Writer is in his 23rd year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, magazines and national TV.

His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.