Ezekiel Elliott

Report: In threatening Goodell, Cowboys owner insults Kraft

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Report: In threatening Goodell, Cowboys owner insults Kraft

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, upset over the six-game suspension of his star running back Ezekiel Elliott, has been fighting against a contract extension for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

How hard has he been fighting? Enough to reportedly insult Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the process. 

ESPN reports that on a conference call in August with Goodell and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash when Jones was informed of Elliott’s suspension for domestic violence incidents, Jones told the commissioner, “I’m going to come after you with everything I have.” He then invoked Kraft’s response to Deflategate and Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.

“If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p—-y compared to what I’m going to do,” Jones told Goodell, according to ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham.

Elliott, like Brady, abandoned his court fight this week and will serve his suspension. Kraft, of course, produced the Wells Report in context website, but grudgingly accepted the NFL’s penalty in the Deflategate case. Jones has threatened to sue the NFL if Goodell’s contract extension is approved.   

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Elliott gives up the fight, accepts NFL's six-game suspension

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Elliott gives up the fight, accepts NFL's six-game suspension

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is ending his legal fight with five games remaining on a six-game suspension over alleged domestic violence.

Elliott's agents said Wednesday the decision by last year's NFL rushing leader "is in no way an admission of wrongdoing." Elliott had a hearing set in a federal appeals court on Dec. 1, four games into the suspension.

Wednesday was the 96th day since Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the suspension. Elliott served the first game in Dallas' 27-7 loss to Atlanta last weekend. By accepting the six-game ban, Elliott is eligible to return for the final two games of the regular season: Dec. 24 at home against Seattle and Dec. 31 at Philadelphia.

The defending NFC East champion Cowboys (5-4) are three games behind the division-leading Eagles (8-1), who visit Sunday night. A year after being the top seed in the NFC at 13-3, Dallas faces a difficult task staying in playoff contention until Elliott returns.

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended by Goodell in August after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time.

Prosecutors in Ohio didn't pursue the case, citing conflicting evidence. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal.

"Our vigilant fight on behalf of Ezekiel once again exposed the NFL's disciplinary process as a sham and a lie," the NFL Players Association said in a statement. "They hired several former federal prosecutors, brought in `experts' and imposed a process with the stated goal of `getting it right,' yet the management council refuses to step in and stop repeated manipulation of an already awful League-imposed system."

The suspension prompted weeks of court hearings in three states resulting in three legal reprieves that kept Elliott on the field.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to an expedited hearing for Elliott's arguments that he wasn't treated fairly by the league, but last week turned down his request for an injunction while the case was being heard.

The same court ruled against New England quarterback Tom Brady last year over his four-game suspension in the "Deflategate" case. Unlike Elliott, Brady had won a lower-court ruling that delayed the suspension for a year.

"This decision arises from a practical assessment of the current legal landscape," agents Rocky Arceneaux and Frank Salzano said.

"This decision is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing, and Mr. Elliott is pleased that the legal fight ... resulted in disclosing many hidden truths regarding this matter, as well as publicly exposing the NFL's mismanagement of its disciplinary process."

A Texas judge granted an injunction that kept Elliott eligible early in the season, agreeing with NFL Players Association lawyers who argued that investigators withheld key evidence from Goodell, and that the appeal hearing was unfair because arbitrator Harold Henderson refused to call Goodell and Thompson as witnesses.

The NFL contended all along that the league followed federal law as it relates to labor agreements and the commissioner's power to discipline players.

A federal appeals court in New Orleans tossed Elliott's lawsuit in Texas on the grounds that it was filed prematurely. The case moved to New York because the NFL had already filed there.

After a visiting federal judge granted a temporary restraining order that kept Elliott on the field two more weeks, the judge assigned to the case rejected all of Elliott's arguments in denying his request for an injunction.

An emergency stay made him eligible for one game against Kansas City before the latest ruling denying an injunction.

"Mr. Elliott's desire for closure is in his best interest, as well as the best interests of his teammates, family and friends," Elliott's attorneys said. "Mr. Elliott will maximize his time away from the game and come back even stronger both on and off the field."

The Dallas offense struggled without Elliott against the Falcons, finishing with a season low in points. Alfred Morris, who started in Elliott's place, had 53 yards on 11 carries. Elliott is third in the NFL with 783 yards rushing.

"Like I said and continue to say, we trust those running backs that we have and what they'll do this Sunday," quarterback Dak Prescott said Wednesday before Elliott's decision was announced.

Kraft reportedly tried to talk Jones out of his crusade vs. Goodell

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Kraft reportedly tried to talk Jones out of his crusade vs. Goodell

Robert Kraft feels as though he set a precedent of sorts, it seems.

He didn't agree with the punishment his team was handed because of Deflategate, yet he accepted it anyway because he wanted to be a good partner to the NFL's other 31 owners. Now that Jerry Jones is in the process of trying to "overthrow Roger Goodell," as a source cited in a recent report on TheMMQB.com alleges, Kraft is wondering why Jones won't just begrudgingly accept his star running back Ezekiel Elliott's suspension.

In the report, a source with knowledge of a call between owners who make up the NFL's Compensation Committee said that Kraft encouraged Jones to push aside any hard feelings that may have cropped up due to the Elliott suspension and stand down in his attempt halt an extension between the league and its commissioner.

From TheMMQB.com: "[Jones] has been angry that Goodell came down hard on players even when overwhelming evidence did not exist. Still, in that fateful conference call Nov. 2, after Jones’ threat, the source with knowledge of the call said Patriots owner and committee member Robert Kraft told Jones words to this effect: 

Jerry, my franchise got killed for a BS incident with so-called deflated footballs. We lost our quarterback for 25% of the season. We got fined a million bucks. We lost first- and fourth-round picks. For hogwash! But I took it. My fans killed me for it, but I try to be a good partner.

On the one hand, Jones' attempts to remove Goodell are rich. Earlier this year, Jones voted to authorize the Compensation Committee to do a deal with Goodell. But then his star player got suspended, and suddenly his opinion on the subject changed. Equally laughable is the fact that when Tom Brady and the Patriots were going through Deflategate, Jones was very vocal in his support of Goodell. Now that the shoe is on the other foot . . . not so much. 

On the other hand, it's no surprise that at least one of the 32 clubs has finally tried to stand up to the league's current way of doing business. With things set up the way they are now -- with Goodell given the power to punish players however he sees fit, even when there is plenty in the way of reasonable doubt -- it was probably only a matter of time before something like this bubbled up. 

Jones probably doesn't have the league-wide support to affect the change he so desperately wants, but ownership now has a certified mess on its hands thanks in part to the monster it helped create.

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