Aug. 11 (UPI) -- All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season.
The NFL announced the ruling on Friday. Elliott, 22, is banned for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Elliott was the 2016 rushing champion during his rookie season, running for 1,631 yards and 15 scores for the Dallas Cowboys. The Ohio State product has three days to appeal the decision. If the ban is upheld, Elliott will be out unitl the Cowboys' Oct. 29 contest against the Washington Redskins.
The NFL's year-long investigation into Elliot began after Elliott's former girlfriend accused him of domestic violence in July of 2016. In September the Columbus, Ohio city attorney's office declined ot press charges against Elliott in connection with the allegations.
But Elliott was unable to stay out of the spotlight during the NFL's investigation.
In March he was seen on video pulling down a woman's shirt and exposing her breast during a St. Patrick's Day parade in Dallas. In July he was spotted at a Dallas bar when a fight broke out. Elliott's involvement in the fight is unknown and police have since suspended their investigation regarding the incident.
The NFL released the following statement on the ruling.
"Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys was notified today by the NFL that he will be suspended without pay for the team's first six 2017 regular-season games for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy."
"Over the course of the last year, the league conducted an extensive investigation. League investigators interviewed more than a dozen witnesses, including Ms. Tiffany Thompson, who had alleged multiple instances of physical violence in July 2016, and Mr. Elliott. The league also consulted with medical experts. League investigators examined all available evidence, including photographic and digital evidence, thousands of text messages and other records of electronic communications."
"Pursuant to the Personal Conduct Policy, Commissioner Goodell sought the views of four external advisors to assist him in evaluating potential violations. These experts range in experience from law enforcement, judicial and public service, and other specialized subject areas."
"The advisors participated in a meeting on June 26, 2017 in New York City with Elliott, who was represented by his legal team and the NFL Players Association. The group also reviewed the league's investigative reports and materials, the expert medical reports, and multiple NFL Players Association submissions on Elliott's behalf."Advertisement
"In a letter to Elliott advising him of the decision, Todd Jones, the NFL's Special Counsel for Conduct, said these advisors ""were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016."
"After reviewing the record, and having considered the views of the independent advisors, the commissioner determined that the credible evidence established that Elliott engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy."
"Elliott may appeal this decision within three days. If he does not appeal, Elliott's suspension will begin September 2, the day of final roster reductions for NFL teams. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. Elliott will be eligible to return to the team's active roster on Monday, October 23 following the Cowboys' Sunday, October 22 game against the San Francisco 49ers."
Elliott was never arrested or charged in connection with the case.