The NFL Is Still Just Making It Up As It Goes Along – Deadspin

Sometimes, there aren’t any good answers. Today, NFL officials announced that they had decided to suspend a player accused of domestic violence for six games: The same penalty they promised years ago, and then went about ignoring as they saw fit. This seemed to make people quite happy, which was all the people who run the NFL ever care about. They want to keep fans happy so they’ll keep spending, and such subsidiary aims as keeping the football press happy, or at least impressed with their strength, mainly serve to further that principal aim.

But the six-game suspension doesn’t address why the NFL was able to throw the book at Ezekiel Elliott, at least unless it gets reduced on appeal: They had a highly cooperative witness, which seemed to matter more than in previous cases when they held piles of evidence and still doled out measly suspensions. Is what happened to Tiffany Thompson six times worse than what happened to Molly Brown? Three times as bad as what happened to Janay Rice? There is no way to escape the message sent here to victims. Play our game and we’ll throw the book at a player; ignore us and we’ll blame you.

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This dynamic can be seen playing out in the letter that the NFL sent to Elliott explaining his punishment, a league press call about the suspension, and the usual anonymous sources feeding NFL beat writers. For example, the league memo at no point discusses an affidavit signed by a witness, Ayrin Mason, in which she said Thompson, Elliott’s ex-girlfriend, asked her to lie and say she saw Elliott attack her. Mason also gave prosecutors text messages, which later were released under Ohio’s public records law, which could be seen as supporting her

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