The Dallas Cowboys first training camp practice is less than a week away and, as has so often been the case during the Jerry Jones era, the biggest story surrounding the team has nothing to do with football. As the Observer and other news outlets reported Friday morning, Ezekiel Elliott, the Ohio State running back taken by the Cowboys with the fourth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is facing domestic violence allegations that seemingly grow odder by the hour.
Tiffany Thompson — who is either Elliott's current or ex-girlfriend, depending on whether she or Elliott is telling the the truth — made this 911 call to Columbus, Ohio police early Friday morning.
During the call, a composed Thompson told police that she has bruises, that Elliott hit her multiple times over the course of five days and requested that an officer be sent to a parking lot outside a bar in which Elliott, Thompson and others had been celebrating Elliott's 21st birthday. It's her second 911 call, she said, and rather than waiting until Saturday, after Elliott's gone, she'd like an officer to come now.
When police arrived on the scene, Thompson reported a new assault by Elliott that had allegedly just occurred in the driver's seat of her car. Four witnesses hanging out with Thompson and Elliott told police they hadn't seen anything. Due to the conflicting reports, the police left without making an arrest.
Later Friday morning, Thomspon posted photos on her Instagram account of injuries she says she sustained from Elliott. She deleted the photos, but not before Deadspin screengrabbed them. Push back began against Thompson's version of events Friday afternoon. Anonymous Cowboys sources told members of the Cowboys press corps that Elliott had messages saved on his phone that proved Thompson was setting him up, taking revenge for a break up. Elliott's dad, Stacy Elliott, maligned Thompson's intentions.
"The actual evidence in this matter clearly indicates what the real motivation was behind the police being called," he said in a statement put out by the Cowboys. "We are confident that when the truth comes to light it will reveal the falsity of these claims."
Former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin told NFL Network broadcaster and radio host Rich Eisen that he'd talk to Elliott Friday afternoon. "This is a situation where — and it's just a girlfriend that we're coming to the end of a relationship and we're having some tough times," Irvin said Elliott told him.
Elliott told Irvin, the receiver said, that he hadn't been within 10 feet of Thompson Thursday night or Friday morning.
Beyond the purported conversation with Irvin, Elliott has remained silent on the issue, except for a few cryptic tweets put out over the past couple of days.
Neither the Cowboys nor the NFL have publicly addressed Elliott's incident or status, but the league says it is investigating the situation pursuant to its player conduct policy.