Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Saturday the team supports running back Ezekiel Elliott after the NFL suspended him six games following a lengthy investigation into a series of alleged domestic violence. He also said those who commit those acts must be held accountable.
"At the end of the day, we certainly support Zeke," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, per ESPN.com's Todd Archer. "At the same time, we understand the very, very, very serious nature of domestic violence, certainly that people should be held accountable if that takes place."
Tight end Jason Witten's family has a history with domestic violence, and he believes Elliott can learn from his experience, per ESPN.com's Archer.
"Look, there's no place for a man to put his hand on a woman, and most of you guys know that it's a situation that's affected my family as a kid, and I put a lot of work and attention and have a platform to step out and speak on stopping domestic violence," Witten said. "Having said that, Zeke is continuing to work through it, and he's talked about that. The game and all that stuff, that's not what you deal with. He's our teammate, and we'll continue to work through it with him and have this opportunity to grow from it, and I think that's what his focus is now.
"There's a lot of things there that I just don't know. I've heard what Mr. Jones has said, and I've looked at him as a mentor for 14 years, and I still think [there are] a lot of things that [we] just don't know. There's a recent investigation that was dropped, too, so that's something where you grab a teammate and you support him in ways. But that doesn't mean you come off your standard of what you stand for. I'm confident in that because, you know, it's been my life in a lot of ways. I don't take that lightly."
Head coach Jason Garrett was rather mum on the ruling, according to Archer.
"We talked to our team about the situation and the importance of focusing on what we can control. We can't control what the NFL does," Garrett said. "It's not my place to comment on whether I think it's justified."
"If we have to play with other running backs, we like the running backs on this team," he said.
McFadden also said he and his teammates continue to support Elliott, per Archer.
"We are behind him 100 percent, regardless of what is going on," McFadden said. "The decision has been made. We are going to stand behind him. He is our brother. He is our teammate. We are going to miss having him out there."
Since news of the suspension broke Friday, Elliott and his representatives have vowed to appeal the NFL's ruling.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the 22-year-old said he was "both surprised and disappointed" by the league's decision and that he "strongly" disagrees with the investigation's findings.
"I admit that I am far from perfect, but I plan to continue to work very hard, on and off the field, to mature and earn the great opportunity that I have been given," he wrote.