What was the Accusation?
In March of 2017, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was caught on camera pulling a woman’s shirt down and exposing her bare breast. The incident happened during a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dallas and immediately generated negative publicity. Representatives for Elliott called the episode all in “good fun” because the player was drinking with friends at the time, even though the woman in the video clearly hurried to cover herself up. A writer for SB Nation argued: “At best, Elliott acted irresponsibly here. At worst, it was predatory behavior. What it wasn’t was ‘all in good fun’.” The NFL conducted an investigation into the incident for months, eventually opting to suspend Elliott for the first six games of the 2017-18 season. Elliott immediately appealed the decision and his representatives attacked the NFL for its report saying that it contained many “factual inaccuracies.” Elliott himself issues a Tweet in which he claimed he was “surprised and disappointed” by the NFL’s findings.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Attacking the Accuser, Mortification, Corrective Action
The statement from Elliott’s representative:
“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.”
Tweet from Elliott:
“I am both surprised and disappointed by the NFL’s decision today, and I strongly disagree with the League’s findings. I recognize the distraction and disruption that all this has caused my family, friends, teammates, the Dallas Cowboys organization as well as my fans – for that I am sincerely sorry. I admit that I am far from perfect, but I plan to continue to work very hard, on and off the field, to mature and earn the great opportunity that I have been given.”
Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott to appeal six-game suspension (2017, August 11). NFL.com. Retrieved from: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000828624/article/cowboys-ezekiel-elliott-to-appeal-sixgame-suspension?campaign=Twitter_atn
Thomas, J. (2017, March 13). Ezekiel Elliott pulled down woman’s top during a St. Patrick’s Day parade. SB Nation. Retrieved from: https://www.sbnation.com/2017/3/13/14911080/ezekiel-elliott-st-patricks-day-parade-cowboys-dumb-bad-decision