Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was initially suspended by the NFL earlier this year for multiple alleged domestic violence situations. The suspension came after authorities in Ohio decided that there was not enough evidence to charge Elliott with a crime.
It also came amid suggestions that something fishy was happening in the back end with his accuser, Tiffany Thompson (more on that here).
Despite the lack of evidence to bring charges in the American justice system, Elliott was indeed suspended by the NFL. It’s the overreaching power of arbitration that was handed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement that enabled this to come to fruition.
It led to yet another round of court battles between the NFL and the NFLPA following the entire Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Tom Brady situations. Does Goodell have too much power in levying punishment? Is this a violation of worker rights? How was the union itself going to respond?
Well, it first seemed as if the NFLPA was going to go nuclear on the NFL. It hired a high-profile lawyer to help in the appeals process. Elliott himself wasn’t about to take any type of deal. He wanted to clear his name in the eyes of the NFL, much like he did in the broader spectrum of the American court room.
This all came to an end in November when Elliott decided to drop the appeal of the six-game ban he received. It’s a suspension that has cost the second-year running back six figures.
Now, fast forward a month or so, and the NFL is in the news once again. This time, it involves Cleveland Browns owner and Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam. Several executives within the corporation are currently on trial for an alleged rebate scandal surrounding the truck stop and travel company.
Back in 2013 and 2014, the company headquarters was raided by the FBI and IRS — a clear indication that authorities believed something way awry within a corporation run by Haslam (more on that here).
While Haslam has not yet been directly implicated by law enforcement officials, the trials are still ongoing. And there’s some major issues as it relates to the situation at hand.
Despite the legal process itself not yet playing out, the NFL figured it made sense to pretty much wrap up its review of the matter.
NFL on Pilot Flying J trial: "No prosecuting authority has found reason to bring charges against Mr. Haslam … So that's where we leave it"
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 11, 2017
“No prosecuting authority has found reason to bring charges against Mr. Haslam … So that’s where we leave it,” the NFL said in a statement, via CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.
Um. We hate to break it to the NFL, but there was “no prosecuting authority” that found reason to bring charges against Elliott. Unless, of course, they include the league’s own kangaroo court.
Now, if that doesn’t speak to a ridiculous double standard, we’re not really sure what does.
But, wait, there’s more.
It was noted back in 2014 by ESPN that Pilot Flying J had to pay out a $92 million fine to customers that the company had defrauded.
“In an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Pilot Flying J has accepted responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees, ten of whom have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme,” ESPN noted.
“Accepted responsibility for criminal conduct of its employees.”
Just to tie this together neatly, Elliott has accepted no responsibility in any such civil case. He continues to maintain his innocence — something that’s obviously been backed up by the real authorities in his case.
Yeah, this stinks of the good old boy network attempting to sweep one under the rug for one of its own. Pay a $92 million fine. See many employees under your watch facing criminal trial. Then, watch as the NFL sweeps it under the rug.
Meanwhile, Elliott is sitting out while serving a suspension for a crime he wasn’t even charged with. But hey, don’t worry, Roger Goodell has been given a $200 million extension. We’re sure that he’ll continue to look out for the players’ best interests and refrain from resorting to the hypocrisy that has defined his tenure as commissioner.
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