Your union will defend you and has, in some instances, proved that the league misapplied its own rules. That’s how former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy won a reduction of a 10-game suspension in 2015. But the United States judicial system has agreed, most recently in litigation involving Tom Brady, that the NFL has the authority to apply a policy that can discipline with far less proof than would be required in a court of law. That could be a problem if you are one of the 50 states that apply criminal law as applied under the constitution of the united states. There is something called uniformity among states to apply the same law at least in theory for violation of the same or similar crime. That is how the criminal justice system works in Domestic violence.
If you think you’re a good guy who knows better and won’t get into trouble in the first place, then I suggest you drop your naïveté and study the history books. This is not simply about domestic violence or other legal allegations.
Google “Anthony Hargrove” and find out why he gave a news conference in front of NFL headquarters in 2012 in hopes of clearing his name. (The NFL quietly admitted that its most crucial evidence against him was inaccurate.) Read the New England Patriots’ still-live rebuttal to Deflategate, nearly 10,000 words disputing the conclusions that led to quarterback Tom Brady‘s 2016 suspension. Ask Clay Matthews or Julius Peppers or James Harrison what they thought of being threatened last summer with a suspension if they did not speak to NFL investigators about a media report that connected them to performance-enhancing drugs.
Elliott is in New York City with a legion of attorneys hired through the NFL Players Association. He’ll try to prove that the NFL was unjustified in suspending him for six games. He’ll fight against the league’s explanation, which it expressed in this type of language: “There is no dispute that you and [the accuser] were together in the same location on the dates identified, and no evidence to suggest that anyone else could ever have caused these injuries.” However, the criminal prosecution by the Columbus Police department have come back without any conclusions for prosecutions of the domestic violence charges.
Unfortunately, the NFL’s willingness to connect dots is not limited to personal conduct. It has followed similar paths investigating bounties, the inflation of footballs and even bullying in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room. If you take a step back, you see a pattern that suggests an attempt to “view the facts through a lens” that will generate a predetermined outcome, as sports attorney Peter Ginsberg once said. This is a very disturbing trend the NFL is taking and is seemingly biased based on a conclusion rather than a thorough honest investigation of all the facts.
And so here we are. Elliott is the latest NFL player to find himself in this situation: connected — maybe, probably, more likely than not — to something the league doesn’t like and disciplined as a result. His story isn’t over, but the next one almost assuredly will start soon.