Posted on August 29, 2016, by Travis Pulver
Before the draft, former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot was quite vocal with who he hoped would draft him. He wanted to go to the Dallas Cowboys. He wanted to play for America’s team and break a few records running behind the mammoth offensive line the Cowboys have put together.
From a physical standpoint, he appeared more than ready to take on the challenge. However, it seems that he may not have been as prepared to take on all that it means to be a Dallas Cowboy.
When you play for the Dallas Cowboys, you are much more than a guy who plays a game on Sunday. You are a celebrity. You are a larger-than-life icon. You are news from the moment you wake up in the morning until you lay your head down at night to go to sleep.
Everything you do is watched, dissected, and analyzed. It doesn’t matter how trivial or mundane. It is just part of the job when your helmet has a star on the side of it.
Elliot should have already realized all of this when he was accused of domestic violence by an ex-girlfriend, but he proved in Seattle that the lesson (if he learned one) didn’t stick.
He didn’t “make it rain” at a strip club, pull a gun on anyone, throw a drink in a woman’s face at the club, bankroll a dogfighting ring, or drag race. He didn’t break any laws at all.
He visited a legal marijuana dispensary—because he was curious and said as much when he talked to the media Monday:
“I was curious, I wasn’t breaking any laws. I wasn’t trying to hide it.”
Stephen Jones and Jerry Jones have commented on the images posted by TMZ. Both called the decision a poor one, but one Elliot can learn from. It appears as if Elliot has learned something from the media controversy his curiosity created:
“You definitely got to think of the perception of things before you actually do certain things,” Elliott said. “It was a learning experience.”
According to Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, Elliott has apologized for visiting the marijuana shop.
But he didn’t do anything wrong–so why apologize? Garrett gave a pretty good explanation when he was asked about it by reporters (SportsDay):
“He and I talked about that. It was just a poor decision on his part. Young players often times have to understand that perception can be reality. And you have to understand that you are under a microscope 24 hours a day. And there is no good reason for him to go into a place like that. I think he understood. He apologized. He recognized his mistake. It’s something he will learn from.”
Shortly after the TMZ report—which did say he did not purchase anything—other media reports surfaced claiming there was already some concern that Elliot was partying too much and is immature. While he has refuted the domestic violence accusations, they are still being investigated (PFT).
It may seem kind of silly, but Garrett is 100 percent right. In today’s world, perception is the reality. Legally, someone is innocent till proven guilty, but in the court of public opinion you are what social media and journalists say you are till proven otherwise–and by then, no one is paying attention anymore.