Cowboys: Why Zeke situation needs resolution now

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 29: Running back Ezekiel Elliott
LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 29: Running back Ezekiel Elliott /

For better or for worse, the Dallas Cowboys need to resolve the Ezekiel Elliott situation now. Here’s why…

The Dallas Cowboys are clicking on all cylinders these days. The running game, the passing game, and even the defense are forces to be reckoned with. But one thing threatens to undo it all – Ezekiel Elliott’s pending six game suspension.

Found guilty by the Roger Goodell Court of Law, Zeke was issued the punishment before the regular season began. But a well-placed restraining order pressed the pause button, allowing Zeke to start the season with his teammates, keeping championship hopes alive in North Texas.

Since then it’s been an ongoing volley between the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys’ leading rusher. One moment he seems destined to serve suspension. The next moment he’s eligible to play. But entering the tenth week of the NFL season, the time has come to find resolution before it’s too late.

Inevitable Outcome

While we all want to wish for the best, the outcome is inevitable. Ezekiel Elliott is going to be suspended. Roger Goodell’s ultimate power is clear. What’s being debated is whether he came to his conclusion fairly or not. Even if the court finds it an unfair process, nothing is to keep the commissioner and the NFL from “rehearing” the case and coming to the same conclusion.

Worst Case

The only thing that is certain is that if the NFL wants to suspend Zeke, they can and they will.

The absolute worst-case scenario in this whole thing is if Zeke delays the suspension just long enough to serve it during the playoffs. Concerning the timing of everything, Elliott is largely at the mercy of the court system and the complicated appeals process.

Again, the court is not currently ruling whether or not he’s going to be suspended, but whether or not to delay the suspension until the case is heard. And when the case is heard it’s not whether or not there’s enough proof to declare him guilty or not, but whether the process was fair or deliberately unfair.

Ezekiel Elliott’s case will be reviewed by a panel of three judges tomorrow. If they find in his favor, the process gets dragged out further. If he loses, the suspension likely begins. We expect to hear something right away but even this is anything but certain. The only thing that is certain is that if the NFL wants to suspend Zeke, they can and they will.

Schedule Ahead

The Dallas Cowboys have eight games left on their regular season schedule. They play the following teams in this order:

Falcons, Eagles, Chargers, Redskins, Giants, Raiders, Seahawks, and Eagles

It’s sad that such a terrible thing like domestic violence occurs in society, let alone in the league we all know and love.

It’s possible the Dallas Cowboys would let this drag out two more weeks so they could ensure, at the very least, Zeke is eligible to play come playoff time.

But who’s to say the Cowboys even make the playoffs?

The last two games on Dallas’ schedule appear to be extremely significant contests as the Cowboys face Wild Card hopeful, Seattle, and NFC East division leader, Philadelphia.

Those games are important for two reasons: they may be the key to the playoffs and they allow Zeke to get back in rhythm before the playoffs begin. Anyone who has seen Zeke play knows that rhythm is an important part of Zeke’s game. And mid-season Zeke is light-years better than that that fresh early-season Zeke that struggles with timing.


There have been conflicting reports as to whether or not the NFL and #21 are negotiating a plea deal. If there is any truth to it, Zeke would be insane not to take what’s offered as long he can avoid the DM label. Virtually any offer. Six games and conduct detrimental to the league sounds like a great deal considering everything. As ESPN/DMN columnist Tim Cowlishaw pointed out, the real problematic part is getting strike one in the NFL’s domestic violence program.

Says Cowlishaw:

"“Because of rules designed to keep sexual predators off the field, he will be one strike (perhaps just one accusation) away from the end of his professional career.”"

As Tim pointed out, going forward it may only take an accusation to permanently remove Zeke from the NFL. That’s why, if at all possible, he wants to plead guilty to a lesser violation. No matter what the cost in games suspended. With domestic violence it’s two strikes and you’re out. Frankly, that’s probably being generous to such a detestable act. But when the burden of proof is so low, this can also be too strict.

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In a league where the commissioner needn’t have proof, that’s dangerous waters Zeke would be swimming in.

The time is nigh

Serving the suspension now will not close the case nor admit guilt. Ezekiel Elliott can serve his suspension now, ensuring his availablility late in the season and in the playoffs. All while still fighting the verdict of the NFL (specifically getting strike one in the domestic violence program).

It’s sad that such a terrible thing like domestic violence occurs in society, let alone in the league we all know and love.

It’s also sad that our judicial system is so powerless to properly combat it (it’s one of the least likely to prosecute of all violent crimes). But since no one really knows except the two people in involved, I’m speaking simply to the effects this has brought upon the team. More specifically, how to minimize those adverse effects.

Next: How a receiver can replace Zeke in the running game

Ready or not, good or bad, for better or for worse, we need resolution on this Zeke situation. Time is running out and this has the potential to not only happen at the worst possible time, but also stretch into next season, hurting the Dallas Cowboys more than ever thought.