Zeke's agent on suspension: NFL cherry-picked evidence to support conclusion

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott issued a statement through his agent responding to the league-mandated six-game suspension he now faces for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. The NFL informed Elliott of his suspension on Friday afternoon, and his agent issued the statement a few hours later. 

Per NFL.com, the full statement reads as follows:

"We just learned of the NFL's decision to suspend Mr. Elliott for six games for allegedly engaging in 'physical force' against the accuser. Mr. Elliott and his team of representatives are extremely disappointed with the NFL's decision.

"Our offices have been engaged in this matter since last July and have worked hand in hand with the Columbus Prosecutor's office as well as the NFL with their respective investigations. Accordingly, we are fully aware of the full body of evidence that exists in connection with this matter.

"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.

"For example, both the Columbus Prosecutor's office as well as the NFL investigators expressly concluded and conveyed to our office (and others) that the accuser was lying about an alleged July 22, 2016 incident whereby she accused Mr. Elliott of pulling her out of her car and assaulting her. An allegation that was ultimately undermined by her own friend's affidavit which stated that no such assault occurred. The affidavit also outlined the accuser's plan to orchestrate a story to police to in order to corroborate her false allegation of assault. In addition, the NFL's own medical experts concluded that many of her injuries predated the week in question and likely occurred during a period of time when Mr. Elliott was not in contact with the accuser. During the upcoming weeks and through the appeal a slew of additional credible and controverting evidence will come to light."

The NFL's suspension letter to Elliott stated that the league believes that the credible evidence establishes that Elliott used physical force against the alleged victim several times during the week of July 16, 2016. The league stated that a review of photographs and other evidence conducted by medical experts appeared consistent with the alleged victim's description of how events occurred. Elliott was advised in the letter that any further adverse involvement with law enforcement could result in an additional suspension or potential banishment from the NFL. 

Elliott's statement strongly contradicts the league-endorsed version of events, and he now has three days to inform the NFL in writing that he plans to appeal the suspension. Such an appeal would be heard either by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or a designated arbitrator. If the suspension is upheld on appeal, Elliott has the option of taking the case to federal court, a la New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after he was initially suspended for his alleged role in Deflategate and had that suspension upheld by Goodell on appeal. 

With Elliott committing to fighting the suspension, it's possible that this situation could drag out into the regular season or beyond. If his appeal is denied and he subsequently takes the case to court, he could ask for a stay of the suspension until a ruling is made, like Brady did in 2015. It is important to note that any court case related to the suspension would not focus on whether Elliott is guilty of domestic violence, but whether his suspension (and the arbitrator's decision to uphold it) is valid under the league's personal conduct policy. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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