There's a chance, somewhere between a small- and a medium-sized one, that Tuesday ends up being one of the defining days of the Cowboys' 2019 season. According to reports from the Cowboys beat reporters at ESPN and The Dallas Morning News, star running back Ezekiel Elliott is meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sometime today. Nothing good can come of the two getting together.
Elliott's latest trip to see Goodell comes as the result of a caught-on-video incident at a Las Vegas music festival in May.
The video shows a LeBron James-jersey-clad Elliott apparently arguing with a woman. While he doesn't appear to touch her on the video, Elliott does repeatedly look like he's blocking her path away from him, which, given the previous domestic violence allegations against Elliott, is, at best, not a good look.
The video cuts from the argument to Elliott talking with a venue security guard. Elliott bumps the guard, who dramatically falls into a barricade. After the guard falls, Elliott immediately throws up his arms and says, "I didn't do anything!"
After the security guard tumbles into the barricade, two Las Vegas Police Department officers handcuff the Cowboys star and take him away from the confrontation.
Las Vegas police told the Observer that the officers who cuffed Elliott then talked to the security guard, who told them he didn't want to press charges. Without the guard's cooperation, the officers released Elliott.
Elliott's attorney told TMZ, the outlet that first got its hands on the video, that the security guards blew a normal argument between Elliott and the woman out of proportion.
"Security misconstrued and overreacted to the situation," Frank Salzano told the tabloid.
Were Elliott employed by any other employer, the situation probably would've been over when the security guard declined to press charges. Elliott works for the NFL, however, which means Goodell has unlimited power when it comes to his discipline — something Elliott knows all too well.
Before the 2017 season, Goodell suspended Elliott six games because of what the commissioner found to be credible domestic violence allegations against the St. Louis native. Elliott appealed and found initial success in the courts, managing to play in the first eight games of the season before two New York federal courts gave wide deference to Goodell's powers under the league's collective bargaining agreement.
In its letter to Elliott initially informing him of the suspension, the league made it clear that any future involvement with law enforcement would leave him vulnerable to another suspension or "potential banishment" from the league.
As innocuous as the Las Vegas incident might seem, the fact that Goodell has summoned Elliott leaves the door open to the commissioner's taking a zero-tolerance approach to Elliott's behavior, given the repeated incidents of poor judgment and worse that have marred his young career. A one- or two-game suspension wouldn't come as a shock, and a longer ban remains a possibility.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.