Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott said last week he’s not simply fighting to stay on the football field – he’s weathering the legal battle so he can clear his name.
“When you get accused of something of that magnitude, you kind of get labeled as an abuser,” Elliott said Wednesday after practice. “And that’s just not me, that’s not how I want to be seen, not how I want to represent my family. It’s just important for me to fight.”
Cowboys Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin disagrees.
“We keep talking about is he fighting for his name, fighting for his innocence,” Irving said Monday in his weekly interview with 105.3 The Fan. “His innocence has already been proven by the police.”
The NFL suspended Elliott six games on Aug. 11 for violating its personal-conduct policy, after a yearlong investigation determined he used physical force against then-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson. Elliott has denied the findings. The Columbus city attorney’s office cited conflicting evidence when choosing not to press charges.
“He’s not fighting for guilt or innocence,” Irvin continued. “He’s fighting the league in the implementation of their domestic violence policy. So when people tell me he’s fighting for his name and guilt or innocence, he’s already innocent and you haven’t given it to him. So you’re never giving it to him! Shut up and get out of my face with that.
“The reality of this situation that this young man is in is…he’s already been proven innocent or whatever you want to call it by the police. He’s not fighting for that.”
Either way, Irvin says, the chance Elliott’s Oct. 30 hearing could reinstate his suspension looms over the Cowboys. Coming off a 40-10 win fueled by Elliott’s career-high 219 total yards from scrimmage only reinforced what he means to the offense.
“To be 3-3 right now, this has been a tough, tough ordeal with all Ezekiel Elliott is going through and how everybody’s trying to attack the Cowboys and slow down the run game and you’re trying to bring along a young defense at the same time and just got back Sean Lee,” Irvin said.
“It’s kind of funny. It’s like you want to say we’re back because you saw it: You saw the punishing run game, you saw Zeke get what he needed to get, and you see how everything works off that. But I’m afraid if I say it or if you say it, then something comes down Oct. 30, where are we?
“It’s just a difficult time. I don’t envy the job Coach Garrett has to do preparing these boys every week. Think about the guys in the locker room now.”
Original article posted by SportsDayDFW here.
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