Domestic violence is illegal, abhorrent, and despicable. Those who commit it should be exposed, shamed, and incarcerated. But those accused of it should not be presumed to be guilty, especially if they were never arrested or charged.
When it comes to NFL internal investigations, the initial outcome also should not be presumed to be fair and accurate. It’s a degree of patience and caution that has become justified by bungled, ham-handed NFL investigations of recent years, from the Saints bounty scandal to the cap penalties imposed on Dallas and Washington to the Ray Rice debacle to #Deflategate. All too often, the NFL (like many other large business organizations) selects a desired outcome in such situations and works backward to justify it.
Whatever anyone thinks of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, the NFL’s past handling of internal investigations should at a minimum prompt a willingness to keep an open mind, to listen what Elliott has to say, and to be willing to poke holes in the facts, findings, and logic applied by the league.
That attitude likely won’t earn me any friends at 345 Park Avenue (if I have any), but it’s a clear consequence of the manner in which the league has Machiavellied its way through other investigations, at times ignoring common sense and reason to make the square peg of P.R.-driven justice fit in the round hole of reality.
Here’s the first clue that maybe a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted before concluding that Elliott did what they now say he did (apart from, you know, the fact that he wasn’t arrested or charged): One of the four experts who participated in the Commissioner’s advisory panel for the Elliott case is Mary Jo White.
For Saints fans, that name has nearly the same connotation as Ted Wells does for Patriots fans. Five years ago, the NFL hired White to serve as a supposedly independent evaluator of disputed facts and evidence regarding the bounty…