Despite drawing rave reviews on the field, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has not impressed everyone with his off-field behavior during his first year in the NFL

Elliott, who remains under investigation by the NFL for an alleged assault that cropped up in July, drew more headlines this past week when he pulled down the top of a woman during a St. Patrick’s Day parade. And as a result, he got ripped into by former Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears for “being dumb.”

“The guy’s just gotta stop being dumb, man. That’s really what it boils down to. And I’m not going to speak on it like I know all of the particulars but I saw it and I don’t understand it,” Spears said on 103.3 radio in Dallas, via the Dallas Morning News. “I was talking to my wife last night about it. With all of the social media, all of the media coverage that we give because we have to and we have to talk about these things, you would think that these guys would have in their minds and they would understand that I have things that I can’t do. And not as a football player but just as a human. At the end of the day, the eye of the world is on Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott because of the success that they had. They not only have the eye of the world but they play for the Dallas Cowboys, who are always in the eye of public.”

The NFL’s investigation of Elliott is a strange one, because no charges have been pressed by authorities on the alleged incident. Elliott and his camp have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and Elliott’s said he wants “closure” when it comes to the NFL’s investigation.

But there’s no closure coming, because Roger Goodell said at the Super Bowl there’s “no timetable” to wrap up the investigation, and there is still a possibility that Elliott ends up facing some punishment. Jerry Jones believes the league hasn’t found anything in terms of the investigation, but there’s no real way to know how the wind blows on this one. 

Having Elliott out in public behaving in a way that does not reflect well on his treatment of women is a sub-optimal way for him to behave while under investigation. 

Which is why Spears believes Elliott needs to “lay low” when it comes to his behavior.

“So I think Zeke just needs to lay low. Have fun, man, have fun. He’s young. But do it in the right way and the respectable manner,” Spears said. “At the end of the day no one can fault you for trying to enjoy the hard work and the labor that you put in to put yourself in this position. But you also have a responsibility to not only yourself but your family to take care of business the right way and not get involved in stupidity.”

This is absolutely correct. Whatever happened in the past with Elliott will be handled through the investigation and he can’t change it right now. But he can make sure that he doesn’t further endanger his playing career and earning ability by making a mistake in public. He should also continue to show that treating women with respect is the proper way to behave.