Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will be suspended for six games without pay for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, league officials said Friday.
Elliott, 22, had been under league investigation for more than a year after a former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, accused him of physical abuse in July 2016. While Elliott was never arrested or charged with a crime, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell concluded he violated league rules.
“After reviewing the record, and having considered the views of the independent advisors, the commissioner determined that the credible evidence established that Elliott engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy,” the NFL said in a press release.
Elliott is expected to appeal the suspension. At present, Elliott is slated to be suspended for the first six games of the 2017 NFL season, beginning on Sept. 2.
The league said its investigators interviewed more than a dozen witnesses, including Thompson, spoke to medical experts and reviewed evidence that included medical records, text messages and photos. Goodell consulted with a panel of experts with law enforcement, legal and public service backgrounds before reaching a determination.
Todd Jones, the NFL’s Special Counsel for Conduct, informed Elliott in a letter that external experts “were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016.
The NFL’s personal conduct policy mandates a six-game suspension for a first domestic violence offense, with harsher penalties for repeated violations.