Elliott slips up again, and this time the NFL prepares for action


Uptown Dallas Clutch is a sports bar on Cedar Springs, the Bourbon Street of the Metroplex. Clutch is the tony setting for Zeke Elliott’s latest misadventure. Most of the clientele would recognize the Dallas Cowboys’ running back, so there was instant corroboration that he punched a man in the nose and broke it. And then exited the club.

That was 9:40 Sunday night. A few minutes later a 30-year-old man told police that someone he did not know assaulted him, causing what police described as “serious bodily injury.”

The man was reported to be Nkemakolam Ibeneme, who goes by “Daryl” and “DTrain” and is a popular DJ at Dallas night clubs.

He was hauled by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment of a broken nose. Some witnesses said the DTrain was a bit wasted (hence he did not recognize Elliott), that he provoked Zeke.  Perhaps he provoked him by not recognizing him.

Others tweeted that whatever whoever did, he didn’t deserve to have his nose broken.

This was another case of Zeke being Zeke, utterly irresponsible because he’s a wealthy young man who can afford attorneys to keep him out of jail despite all his brushes with the law.

He has been under investigation for more than a year for an allegation of sexual assault by his former girlfriend in Columbus, where he attended Ohio State University.

The police haven’t pressed charges and probably won’t. There are flaws in her story and eyewitnesses contradicting it. But the case remains open, and closely monitored by the NFL office. Even without a smoking gun there’s enough smoke for Roger Goodell’s justice department to show some muscle.

ESPN reported last week that Elliott will be suspended for the season opener. Unfortunately, that report did not inspire Elliott to search for the reset button. Or even a pause.

If only he could take a deep breath, a few thoughts before he acts so rashly. The paragon of composure on the football field, he’s looking more and more like a train wreck off it.

We are only four months removed from his debacle at the head of a St. Patrick’s Day parade, when he lifted a woman’s top to expose a breast.

The crowd booed. But Jerry Jones was not terribly bothered by it. As always, the Cowboys’ owner had nothing critical to say about the league’s leading ground-gainer.

Roger Goodell said the league is investigating.

Well, this case hardly requires Sherlock Holmes. There was no denying Elliott committed assault, and as publicly as possible.

And there was video. All over the internet.

True, there was no Ray Rice haymaker, but you have to wonder how Zeke got by without even a public reprimand. He skates, and here we are four months later at Uptown Dallas Clutch.

Commissioner Goodell is always reluctant to confront Jones, whose marketing genius drives revenues for the other clubs as well as his own, which has been ranked alongside the Yankees as the most valuable sports team in the world.

But what about self-discipline? Does Jerry see the danger here?

There are victims in this story, and there are enablers. The Cowboys have a sad tradition of ignoring bad behavior. Which causes it to spread.

Latest on the Cowboy rap sheet: Damien Wilson, who started six games at outside linebacker in 2016, was arrested July 4 after allegations that he backed his pickup into a woman and flashed his rifle at her companion. Which has me wondering: How can someone born in Massachusetts be so Texan?

Less dramatic, but no less troubling: starting cornerback Nolan Carroll faces charges of drunk driving. Police said he was on the wrong side of the road. A 4-game suspension is anticipated.

Is it time for tough love? Should coach Jason Garrett impose a little of his will?

Herm Edwards, ex NFL head coach, said on ESPN: “You’ve got to say enough is enough as an organization. If you’re the head coach – and I’ve been in this situation — you’ve got to make a decision.”

Elliott acts contrite after every incident and promises to lead a more quiet life. He’s not stupid; he understands that the less he’s on TMZ, the better for his brand, as well as the Cowboys’.

But he continues to make questionable decisions. Such as posing nude for ESPN the Magazine.

And being ticketed for driving 100 mph on the Dallas North Tollway – 30 over the limit.

It’s not that he’s evil or cruel. He’s just immature. He’s mischievous, like a 13-year-old challenging his boundaries.

Sometimes that can be cute. America loved it when he jumped into the red kettle of the Salvation Army.

But fun must not come at someone else’s expense. Zeke did not realize, before it was too late, how he was crossing the line with women’s parade attire.

The Cowboys depart Saturday – Zeke’s 22nd birthday — for training camp in Southern California. And it looks like a cloud will be following them.

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