The NFL and the NFL Players Association engaged in an angry back-and-forth Wednesday over the Ezekiel Elliott case, with the league accusing the players’ union of deliberately “spreading derogatory information” to media outlets about the woman whose accusations of domestic abuse led to the NFL’s decision to suspend the Cowboys running back for the first six games of the season.
“It’s a common tactic to attempt to prove the innocence of the accused by discrediting the victim,” the NFL said in a statement released on Twitter. “Common or not, these tactics are shameful. Efforts to shame and blame victims are often what prevent people from coming forward to report violence and/or seek help in the first place.”
The NFLPA angrily denied the NFL’s accusations.
“The public statement issued on behalf of every NFL owner is a lie,” the NFLPA said in a tweet. “The NFLPA categorically denies the accusations made in this statement. We know the League office has a history of being exposed for its lack of credibility. This is another example of the NFL’s hypocrisy on display and an attempt to create a sideshow to distract from their own failings in dealing with such serious issues. They should be ashamed for stooping to new lows.”
A follow-up tweet by the NFLPA, in which the union wrote “Where are the receipts? We’ll wait” was deleted.
Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that a series of texts between Elliott’s alleged victim and her friend was mentioned in “a portion of the NFL Players Association’s response to the NFL regarding Elliott’s suspension.”
Elliott has appealed the suspension and is expected to have his hearing on Aug. 29. Former NFL executive Harold Henderson, who has heard several appeals in relation to other suspensions, including those issued to former Ravens running back Ray Rice and former Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, was named Wednesday to preside over Elliott’s hearing.