By Jacob Santiago
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After the Dallas Cowboys started the NFL season with a dismal 2-3 record, they have resurfaced as an NFC contender after going 3-0 after their bye week. Arguably, the main cause of this has been due to Ezekiel Elliott leading the way on the ground. Whereas Zeke only scored two touchdowns on the ground through the first five games, he has scored five touchdowns in the last three, and posted back-to-back 100-yard games and capped it off with a 97-yard rushing game against Kansas City at home last Sunday.

Despite his success on the ground many Cowboys fans and fantasy owners have become weary to when Elliott’s last game will be due to a six-game
suspension looming over his head that could make any game he plays his last.

“You are hereby suspended without pay for six regular-season games, subject to appeal.” These are the last words of a six-page document sent to Ezekiel Elliott from the NFL on Aug. 11 highlighting his suspension from the league. In it, the league determined that due to an investigation conducted by the Columbus Police Department, in which Tiffany Thompson accused Elliott of assault, he should be suspended for six games.

However, in the investigation conducted by the Columbus Police Department, Elliott was not charged, and the Attorney’s Office decided not to pursue criminal prosecution. It was later revealed that the main cause of the case dismissal was due to text messages acquired during the investigation that showed Thompson texting a friend that she was lying and wanted to “take down” Elliott in revenge for breaking up with her.

Despite all of this, however, the question here is why Elliott is still being suspended as if he is guilty?

If we flash back to 2014, the NFL has been trying to clean up its image on its stance on domestic violence ever since the Ray Rice incident. For those who don’t know (or remember) a video surfaced in February of 2014 of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then fiancée, now wife, Janay Palmer and knocking her out in an elevator at a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Despite this brutal video, arrest and indictment, Rice was only suspended for two games in the NFL.

Though the NFL later corrected their decision and suspended Rice indefinitely, the outrage due to this was felt by the NFL front office. Since then the NFL partnered with “NO MORE,” a domestic violence advocacy group, and released several PSAs and even tightened their domestic violence policy to improve their image. Unfortunately, even though Elliott is innocent, the NFL will not back down due to the fear of being seen as “weak” against domestic violence incidents and has been seemingly caught up in the politics of the NFL.

For Elliott, the appeal process carries on this week with his fourth appeal as the courts will decide if he can play this Sunday against Atlanta (his fourth appeal already). Though some call for him to take the suspension, that would be him simply allowing for his image to be reduced to nothing but a woman beater.
Instead, I believe Elliott should continue to fight to clear his name, and as a Cowboys fan, fight to win us more games.

This is the opinion of Jacob Santiago, SJU junior