Posted on July 31, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The NFL is a multi billion business. You would think it could hire the kind of people that could conduct an investigation in a timely fashion. You would think they could hire people that would know how to get to the heart of an incident. The NFL should be able to figure out whether something happened that deserves punishment.
But as the Ezekiel Elliot investigation (and Tom Brady before it) has proven, that is not the case at all.
Much like every other investigation in recent years, the NFL has managed to fumble its way through Elliot’s case. It has become harder and harder to believe that justice will be done in the end. A recent revelation makes it seem like the final proceedings could even be tainted against Elliot.
The most recent word on the investigation is that Roger Goodell is waiting to hear what four outside advisors have to say before making a decision. These advisors were present at the meeting Elliot had with league officials weeks ago.
Why it takes them weeks to think about what they heard and come to a decision is a mystery. But everything else in this case has taken far too long, so why not this? Maybe the NFL is trying to figure out how to spin it when it comes out a lifelong Giants fan had an impact on suspending Elliot.
Yes, the NFL’s lead investigator, Lisa Mendelson Friel, is a lifelong, rabid fan of the New York Giants. When she was hired by the NFL, The Daily Beast described the extent of her fandom.
She’s the sort of fan who turned the den of her Brooklyn home into a shrine, boasts season tickets that have been in her family for more than 60 years, and cheers her lungs out at every game at MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands.
“She’s a rabid Giants fan,” says Friel’s former boss, Linda Fairstein, the famed New York prosecutor-turned-crime novelist. “I can be sitting at home staying good and toasty, watching a game, and she’s out there in all kinds of weather,” Fairstein says. “She knows football inside-out.”
Does this mean she can’t be objective when she does her job? Of course not. Can she keep her feelings about the Cowboys and Giants out of it? Of course. She probably can and probably will do just that. However, should a decision finally come down that is heavier than expected, fans will cry foul.
If they don’t, Jerry Jones will undoubtedly have something to say about it. He has made it clear that he believes there is no case against Elliot. Rumor has it, he is willing to put up a fight should the league come down too hard on his running back.
The NFL has clearly failed to learn from any of its past mistakes. But hopefully, in the end, Ezekiel Elliot will have learned from his.