Forget Mr. Freeze and the Screamin’ Eagle.
This season, it’s the NFL and Ezekiel Elliott that have taken us on a roller coaster ride. Unfortunately, it’s not been a very fun one.
In case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about, the NFL announced in the preseason that Elliott, the star running back for the Dallas Cowboys, would be suspended for six games amid domestic violence allegations in which no charges have been filed.
Here we are nine weeks into the season and Elliott has yet to sit out a game. This is due to a seemingly never-ending series of emergency injunctions and appeals that have kept the suspension’s imposition on the backburner.
I can’t count the number of times the suspension has itself been suspended and reinstated by the courts thus far this year.
At this point, I’m done paying attention to it.
Like a coaster rider with a bad case of motion sickness, this story has me figuratively ready to hurl. What’s worse is having analysts attempt to explain how it’s all going to work out.
Nobody knows what’s going to happen. The courts can’t even make up their mind, but every time there is a new court ruling and the story gets dragged back into the headlines, it’s another black eye for the league.
At this point, the league would be better served if Commissioner Roger Goodell were to stay the suspension until after the season when the courts can hear the case without the need for a new injunction every couple of weeks.
After Tom Brady was able to get out from under a four-game suspension for more than a year after his alleged involvement in the so-called “Deflate-gate” occurrence, this is the second time in the past three seasons a high-profile disciplinary action taken by the league has been dragged through the courts. In the process, fans have been continually left in suspense as to when they’re going to be able to see star players in action and if and when the hammer is ultimately going to fall.
The constant legal battle calls into question the league’s competency to police its players. Now, I’m not a proponent of the league suspending players for criminal allegations when no charges have even been filed. However, if it is going to do so, it can’t afford to be overreaching, which in what it has done in this case.
Enough is enough. I don’t want to see players guilty of domestic abuse go unpunished any more than the next man, but we have a court of law for a reason. Until said court finds a player guilty of such allegations, or at the very least presses charges, it’s not the place of a nongovernmental entity to hand down discipline. I don’t really feel like it’s the place of the government to regulate the disciplinary actions of a private company either, but that’s another soapbox for another day.
In such cases, the reason for the league to impose a suspension is in an attempt to protect its image. That’s clearly not working out very well.
It’s time for the league to come up with a new strategy.
It’s time to let everybody off this ride.