Ezekiel Elliott may or may not get punished by the NFL for exposing a woman’s breast Saturday during a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dallas. But it can’t be helping his cause as he waits to find out what the league makes of his recent domestic violence case.
Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided to drop charges last year in that case, in which a woman named Tiffany Thompson claimed that Elliott abused her on five separate occasions over a period of several days in July 2016. Thompson posted photos online showing bruises she said were on her body and were inflicted by Elliott, but he denied the allegations and Columbus authorities eventually cited “conflicting and inconsistent information” in declining to move forward.
However, the NFL has been conducting its own probe into those allegations, which could include a previous accusation by Thompson, lodged in Florida, that Elliott had hurt her by pushing her into a wall. The league might still punish the Cowboys running back and former Ohio State star for violating its personal-conduct policy.
The NFL could also look into Saturday’s incident, or at least consider it while possibly determining that Elliott, 21, needs to learn to show more respect to women. In a video posted by TMZ Sports, he is shown pulling down part of a woman’s shirt, exposing one of her breasts.
In a subsequent video, also posted by TMZ Sports and taken while Elliott and the woman were watching the parade from a rooftop bar, she swats his hand away before pulling her own shirt down. A representative for Elliott told the website that “the woman wasn’t upset,” and that she subsequently “hung out with Zeke and a group of friends after the parade ended.”
Regardless of whether the woman minded Elliott’s actions, the league could take a dim view of his behavior, particularly given his recent comments about its probe into the alleged incidents involving Thompson. “I do want closure. I do,” Elliott told reporters in January, after the Cowboys’ season ended with a playoff loss to the Packers.
“I would rather them not drag on as long,” continued Elliott, who received many rookie-of-the-year honors after leading the NFL in carries and rushing yards. “I think if there was something to find, which there’s not, they would’ve found it by now. The police did a very thorough investigation.
“I will tell you this — it just seems like they’re dragging their feet right now. Who knows, man? I just want it to end.”
Later in January, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he was “well aware of all of the circumstances involved” with Elliott’s case and that he has “felt good about it since training camp.” Jones added that “not one thing has come up or surfaced that in any way gives me any concern” about the league’s probe. The Cowboys have yet to offer a comment on Saturday’s episode.
“What happened in that video was sexual assault, period, full stop,” Shaunna Thomas, executive director of women’s-rights group Ultraviolet, told TMZ Sports. “The evidence for it is, he pulled down her shirt, exposed her breasts, and she slapped him away. She clearly didn’t want him to be doing it, she didn’t give him permission to do that.
“Ezekiel Elliott needs to be suspended. … Roger Goodell is in a position — yet again — to demonstrate that they do take seriously.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the league is aware of the video, but that it “will decline comment.”