Cowboys: Zeke Embroiled In Yet Another Controversy

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Ezekiel Elliott
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Ezekiel Elliott /

Supremely talented yet increasingly troubled, it is officially time to worry about whether or not  Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott “gets it”.

The Dallas Cowboys’ organization is no stranger to off-the-field controversy. Those of us old enough to remember the glory days of the 90’s easily recall the exploits of the “White House” bunch. They played hard and partied even harder. Of course, it didn’t go over well with everyone. But so long as the Lombardi trophies kept piling up, we generally looked the other way.

In fact, their behavior wasn’t really an issue with the fan base until the product on the field began to suffer. The old cliche rings true. Winning does, in fact, cure all. And as long as our weekend gladiators laid waste to the rest of the NFL, it was easy to let the ‘Boys be boys. At the time, we had no idea a two decade chasm of abject mediocrity would follow. In a way, it seems as though we’re still paying for all those old sins.

Fast-forward to yesterday morning. Word began trickling out about star running back Ezekiel Elliott’s involvement in an altercation in a Dallas establishment. It’s another incident in a recurring pattern of behavior. Furthermore, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Late last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Elliott could face a one or two game suspension stemming from his ongoing domestic violence case involving an ex-girlfriend.

These two incidents are bad enough by themselves. But it doesn’t even include Elliott’s St. Patrick’s Day stunt where he lifted a woman’s shirt, exposing her breast. Indeed, the bigger picture suggests he is little more than a coddled athlete accustomed to getting his way. Another problem is that his obvious talent makes him highly useful.

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It’d be one thing if it was some third stringer carrying on like a moron. He’d be cut and relegated to irrelevance overnight. But with Zeke, the Cowboys have a transcendent talent on their hands.

What’s more, they appear to have the makings of a championship contender. That status could easily derail if Elliott misses any length of time. Plus, we all know the power structure at The Star.

Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones always caters to his star players. The rules don’t always apply to everyone, especially when they can help win games.

It’s a tough spot for head coach Jason Garrett.

I hear him take his share of criticism on local sports radio for talking about bringing in the “right kinda guys”. Deep down, I know he believes that approach. But he also knows which side his bread is buttered on. So when a Greg Hardy gets signed, Garrett knows he’ll have to grin and bear it. Jerry signs the checks. It’s got to be an emasculating aspect of his job, but such is the price for assuming the mantle of “Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys”.

Elliott’s current predicaments also put his team in a tough spot, and this is where it will hurt them the most. His actions suggest he’s out for himself and not thinking about the greater good. Is this any great crime? In and of itself, no. Plenty of professional athletes do nothing but look out for Number One. What’s especially troubling is that Zeke’s behaviors would have any number of us peasants brought up on charges. If he keeps it up, it’ll catch up to him. It seems like it may already have.

Next: Dallas Cowboys: Facing suspension, can Zeke be replaced?

Ezekiel Elliott seems like a likable kid. He also has an obvious thirst for being out in the spotlight and courting attention. Again, no great crime there. But it also appears as though he sorely misses some much needed perspective. The Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to do some wonderful things in the coming years. But if their star running back continues to make poor decisions, it could ruin his career and his team’s future.