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Ezekiel Elliott investigation still “active and ongoing”

The league-leading Dallas Cowboys travel to N.Y. Giants in a crucial division game for both rivals. Can the G-Men send a message to their opponents and the rest of the NFL?

In the never-ending NFL news cycle, stories bubble up before being pushed to a rear burner, forgotten until the next time the lid begins to softly rattle against the rim of the pot.

For Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, the simmering continues when it comes to his pending domestic violence investigation. The NFL tells PFT that the investigation is “active and ongoing.”

The league continues to explore five alleged incidents in six July days involving Elliott and a former girlfriend. As part of the probe, the NFL also has considered an alleged incident from February. That becomes ominous not because Elliott could separately be punished for it (because it happened before he was drafted by Dallas, he can’t be) but because it could be used as an aggravating factor in the determination of the punishment to be imposed for whatever happened in July.

Put simply, the February incident has no relevance if nothing is going to be done about the July incidents.

But there’s a possibility that the February incident could help the league resolve an apparent credibility contest regarding the things that did or didn’t occur in July. If the claims made about Elliott regarding February can be independently corroborated, the league may be more likely to conclude that the alleged victim is telling the truth about July, too.

With no jury and no beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard of proof criminal charges were not filed against Elliott), the league essentially can do whatever it wants. And with the test being whether it’s more likely than not that the misconduct happened, the NFL can find a violation simply by coming to the conclusion that the alleged victim is telling something closer to the truth than Elliott is.

The NFL also can take as much time as it wants to resolve the case, and with only four weeks left in the regular season, it seems unlikely that anything will happen until the offseason, at the earliest. Whether other players on other teams would get the same consideration doesn’t matter; the Cowboys have proven to be the cure for the league’s ratings woes, so it makes little sense to rush to judgment regarding a running back who has emerged as one of the most important pieces of a possible championship team.

Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. The league knows it gains nothing by moving too quickly, especially since the process already has lasted this long.