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After a 13-month investigation and 3 months of appeals, Zeke Elliott finally accepts his suspension

The Dallas running back has decided to accept his six-game suspension.

Elliott has been a key performer for the Cowboys this season.
Elliott has been a key performer for the Cowboys this season.
Image: Brandon Wade/PA Images

DALLAS COWBOYS RUNNING back Ezekiel Elliott has withdrawn his appeal of a six-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, his agents announced Wednesday.

After a court fight that delayed implementation of the ban since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell imposed the punishment in August, Elliott missed his first game of the suspension last Sunday in the Cowboys’ 27-7 loss to Atlanta.

Elliott will miss the next five Cowboys’ games, starting Sunday against NFL pace-setter Philadelphia followed by contests against the Los Angeles Chargers, arch-rival Washington, the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders.

The 22-year-old rusher will be able to return to competition for the Cowboys (5-4) on 24 December against Seattle. Dallas will close the regular season on 31 December against Philadelphia.

Goodell suspended Elliott on 11 August after a 13-month investigation concluded the Cowboys star was in violation of the league’s personal-conduct policy for an incident in the summer of 2016.

Elliott was not arrested or charged in the case and maintains his innocence after being accused of assaulting ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson in Columbus, Ohio.

His court fight, aided by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) went to the Second US Court of Appeals, which last Thursday denied his legal motion to halt imposing of the ban.

“In consultation with the NFLPA and his lawyers, and after careful deliberation and review of the recent Second Circuit decisions, Mr. Elliott has decided to forgo any further appeals and will serve the remaining suspension,” said a statement from Elliott’s agents, Rocky Arceneaux and Frank Salzano.

“This decision arises from a practical assessment of the current legal landscape. Mr. Elliott’s desire for closure in this matter is in his best interests, as well as the best interests of his teammates, family and friends.”

The protocols of the suspension process in a case for which there was no legal finding of guilt nor an admission of wrongdoing became a major issue as the case worked through the legal system.

“This decision is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing and Mr Elliott is pleased that the legal fight mounted by him and his team resulted in the disclosure of many hidden truths regarding this matter, as well public exposure of the NFL’s mismanagement of its disciplinary process,” the statement said.

An NFLPA statement Wednesday night said the union appealed Elliott’s ban “to its logical conclusion” before withdrawing it after proving a point about the suspension process.

“Our vigilant fight on behalf of Ezekiel once again exposed the NFL’s disciplinary process as a sham and a lie,” the union statement said.

“They hired several former federal prosecutors, brought in ‘experts’ and imposed a process with the stated goal of ‘getting it right,’ yet the management council refuses to step in and stop repeated manipulation of an already awful league-imposed system.”

In eight games this season, Elliott has run for 783 yards and seven touchdowns on 191 carries.

The agents said Elliott would release a “final personal statement in the upcoming weeks” on the matter.

- (C) AFP 2017

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