The NFL’s seemingly never-ending investigation into Ezekiel Elliott’s domestic violence case has reached a verdict.
The Cowboys running back was handed a six-game suspension to start the 2017 season, ESPN reported Friday, after his ex-girlfriend accused him of beating her on five separate occasions last year. Elliott plans on appealing the suspension, and has three business days to do so, according to the report.
“After reviewing the record, and having considered the views of the independent advisors, the commissioner determined that the credible evidence established that Elliott engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy,” the NFL said in a statement.
Read the full statement on the decision here.
A statement from Elliott’s camp strongly objected to the ruling.
“The NFL’s findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions and it “cherry picks” so called evidence to support its conclusion while ignoring other critical evidence,” the statement read.
Read the entirety of the statement from Elliott’s camp here.
The NFL standard for domestic violence incidents is a six-game ban, though it has been lessened in some cases. The Cowboys open the season on Sept. 10 against the Giants, who most think have the best chance to unseat Dallas atop the NFC East.
Elliott played all of last season with the Cowboys, rushing for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns, after police cleared of him criminal charges. However, that did not stop the NFL from looking into the matter.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has been a vocal supporter of Elliott’s during the investigation, is “said to be furious” with the decision, according to ESPN.
The accuser posted photos of her bruised body on her Instagram account after filing a police report last summer and on Saturday broke her silence on the past relationship with Elliott.
“Exactly 1 year ago today my life changed forever,” she wrote. “Loving someone as much as I did, putting my all in no matter what happened. I finally got the strength to be the strong woman I was and got myself out of a very toxic relationship. Ladies never think you’re too in love or too scared to leave because at one point that was me. There’s plenty of opportunities out there for you. Love yourself first. Speak up and stop domestic violence.”
Elliott has been far from clean in the year since the domestic violence allegations surfaced. The 22-year-old was caught on camera in March pulling down a woman’s shirt to reveal her breast during a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Most recently, Elliott was accused of breaking a man’s nose during an altercation at a Dallas bar in July.
The Cowboys’ early schedule also includes games against the Raiders, Broncos and Packers.