Following a league investigation into domestic violence allegations made more than a year ago, former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended for the first six games of the 2017 NFL season.
The suspension was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Friday evening, Elliott said he is "both surprised and disappointed by the NFL's decision."
— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) August 12, 2017
Elliott's attorneys, Frank Salzano and Scott Rosenblum, said in a statement Friday afternoon that he plans to appeal the suspension.
"The NFL's findings are replete with factual inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions and it 'cherry picks' so called evidence to support its conclusion while ignoring other critical evidence," the statement reads. "During the upcoming weeks and through the appeal a slew of additional credible and controverting evidence will come to light."
Reaction to today's 6-game suspension for Ezekiel Elliott from his attorneys, Frank Salzano and Scott Rosenblum. pic.twitter.com/PFsQLvcME8
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 11, 2017
According to Schefter, Elliott has three business days to file an appeal and a hearing must be scheduled within 10 days of the NFL's receipt of notice of appeal.
Elliott was accused of committing five acts of domestic violence against a former girlfriend between July 17, 2016 and July 22, 2016. While the Columbus prosecutor's office declined to file charges against Elliott, the NFL proceeded forward with its own investigation and determined that Elliott's actions were in violation of the league's personal conduct policy.
"Over the course of the last year, the league conducted an extensive investigation," the NFL's official statement reads. "The commissioner determined that the credible evidence established that Elliott engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy."
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 11, 2017
The NFL's investigation determined that Elliott used physical force to cause injuries to his former girlfriend on three separate occasions between July 17, 2016 and July 21, 2016, according to a letter to Elliott written by NFL chief disciplinary officer B. Todd Jones.
Elliott made headlines again in March, when TMZ published a video of Elliott exposing a woman's breast during a St. Patrick's Day parade in Dallas. Jones told Elliott that incident "will not be considered separately as a basis for additional discipline," but told Elliott that his "behavior during this event was inappropriate and disturbing, and reflected a lack of respect for women."
Elliott has been warned that future violations of the league's personal conduct policy could result in additional punishment.
"You must have no further adverse involvement with law enforcement, and must not commit any additional violations of league policies," Jones wrote. "In that respect, you should understand that another violation of this nature may result in your suspension or potential banishment from the NFL."
In his first season with the Cowboys last year, Elliott led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards. A key player on Ohio State's 2014 national championship team, Elliott was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
Elliott's suspension, pending appeal, is scheduled to begin on Sept. 2 and conclude on Oct. 23, following the Cowboys' sixth game of the season. Elliott remains eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.