Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will file the appeal of his six-game suspension on Tuesday or Wednesday, sources close to him say, with the hope of getting back on the football field as soon as possible.
With that in mind, his legal team is preparing the arguments for his appeals hearing, either with Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee. A portion of his argument, according to those familiar with it, revolves around the credibility of his alleged victim. Elliott will attempt to show that the NFL’s suspension did not accurately weigh that factor.
According to documents obtained by NFL.com, Elliott actually filed an official incident report alleging harassment with Frisco (Texas) Police on Sept. 5, 2016 against Tiffany Thompson, identified by the league as his alleged victim.
The report details that police were dispatched to Elliott’s house because he received “50-plus” phone calls from his ex-girlfriend between 2:39 a.m. and 10 a.m. She called from a blocked number and Elliott answered several times, he told police, informing Thompson she was not supposed to be calling him, per the report.
Elliott provided a written statement of the incident for police.
Elliott reported the claim one day before Columbus Police announced it would not press charges against Elliott, though the incident happened two days before that.
Columbus prosecutor Robert S. Tobias declined comment when asked in an email if his office was aware of the harassment claim before making its charging decision, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports.
Frisco Police Sgt. Jeff Inmon told Pelissero the harassment case is currently inactive. In addition, Elliott told police that Thompson hacked into his email account, found phone numbers and called them to leave “untruthful things that can hurt his image.” Thompson told league investigators that she contacted women Elliott was “messing around” with.
Goodell used this information earlier while forming his decision, but Elliott’s team hopes to highlight it in the appeal.
In his letter to Elliott, NFL Senior VP B. Todd Jones, special counsel for conduct, specifically addressed the credibility of Thompson. He wrote that these issues received “careful consideration” by the commissioner but added “no finding, and no disciplinary action, was based on simply one individual’s statements. Instead, Jones wrote, the findings are a combination of “photographic, medical, testimonial, and other evidence that is sufficiently credible in the Commissioner’s judgment to establish the facts, even allowing for concerns you and your representatives have advance about the complaining witness’s credibility.”