"It's a very complicated issue because you have no evidence here."
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had his hearing yesterday in an effort to win an appeal of his six-game suspension. According to Ian Rapaport of the NFL Network, Zeke gave his testimony to arbitrator Harold Henderson under oath.
The league suspended Elliott earlier this month for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, stemming from an investigation that took place after an ex-girlfriend accused Elliott of domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio. While Elliott did not face criminal charges, the NFL's investigation concluded that "there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. [Tiffany] Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016," according to a statement from the NFL.
However, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has so that there is "no evidence" at all. In an interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas yesterday, Jerry Jones said he "abhors" domestic violence, but still stands by his star running back and thinks the league's punishment was too harsh.
Jones says, per ESPN.com's Todd Archer,
"On the other hand with what we are today and what we're trying to be relative to addressing it in the league, [it] has all kinds of issues and it should. It's a very complicated issue because you have no evidence here. That's all I want to say about it. But it creates quite a convoluted approach by Zeke's representatives and by the league that I really hate is a focus of all of our attention. I do. Even though others would say that the issue needs this kind of focus and you're using the NFL for visibility."
According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, Harold Henderson, the arbitrator at Ezekiel's appeal hearing, declined to compel the accusor, Tiffany Thompson, to appear for cross-examination. He also denied the inclusion of notes made by investigators during six interviews with Thompson. Both of those decisions, according to Yahoo's Charles Robinson, point to Elliott's six-game suspension being upheld.
If that's the case, Elliott and the NFL Players Association could still potentially take the case to federal court. As it stands, the Dallas Cowboys will be without Ezekiel Elliott until Week 8 against the Washington Redskins.