So Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension has finally been determined by Sheriff Rog, and it’s 38 percent of the Dallas Cowboys’ season.
Now we know better than to assume that this is because his act was exactly six games’ worth of heinous, because we know than NFL discipline has no guidelines at all. In fact, sometimes NFL discipline is denied by the NFL – see Kaepernick, Colin, for an example of this phenomenon.
All punishments are political, you see, and the NFL has to preserve Sheriff Rog’s prerogatives to keep the players from knowing what’s good, what’s bad, what’s actionable and what falls under the universal talent-tolerance scale. A definitive and enforceable scale for transgressors ties the league’s hands if it wants to hammer someone it doesn’t like, or wants to forgive someone it does. That’s why suspensions are for different periods for relatively the same transgression.
And sometimes punishments aren’t called that at all, but “the market at work.” See Kaepernick, Colin, for an example of this phenomenon.
It isn’t that Elliott’s domestic violence incident shouldn’t be punished, and maybe more severely. Maybe even by termination.
But enforcing the law is what we thought we had the law for, and the NFL operates on the theory that it is the law more than the law. Moreover, it has been allowed to get away with it because it is the world’s only source of the NFL, which America has voted in overwhelming numbers to consider its addictive opioid of choice.
See its long-standing arrangement with National District Attorneys Association for an example of this phenomenon.
So Elliott gets six games, though his appeal may reduce it because, well, you never known when the league will feel like it needs another quality running back on a team that gets big ratings.
In the meantime, we amuse ourselves with tales of starting quarterbacks who can’t get out of their own way because we prefer to be distracted from the harder questions as quickly and comprehensively as possible.
One last time, see Kaepernick, Colin, for an example of this phenomenon.