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DeflateGate is haunting Roger Goodell in the Ezekiel Elliott case

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Other NFL owners are using the punishment the NFL dropped on Tom Brady and the Patriots as leverage to demand that Ezekiel Elliott be punished for his off-field incidents.

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

We tried to warn you. The Steelers tried to warn you. The Saints tried to warn you. But as long as the NFL was flexing on the New England Patriots for two years after the 2014 AFC Championship Game, the rest of the NFL was totally fine with Roger Goodell dealing out the harshest punishment in NFL history to both the Patriots and Tom Brady. Even when it became infuriatingly obvious that the league had lied, covered up their own lies, and then lied again to cover up the cover-up, the rest of the league more or less did their best impression of Aldous Snow getting a demo tape from a slightly deranged fan and went on living their lives.

And the superstar owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, in particular, was one of Roger Goodell’s most loyal ride-or-die wingmen, ready to lend his good old boy charms to explaining what an outstanding job Goodell was doing and how tough doing the right thing can be.

And now, the waiter’s dropping the bill for that three-martini lunch on the table.

You may have heard that the Dallas Cowboys superstar running back Ezekiel Elliott has a bit of a knack for getting into, let’s say, compromising situations lately - in addition to that pesky domestic violence incident from his time at Ohio State that just won’t go away, Zeke’s also gotten caught pulling a woman’s shirt down on St. Patrick’s Day and just recently may or may not have been involved in a bar fight in a Dallas bar this month.

Here’s where the DeflateGate connection comes in: just like some people warned you, your team could be next - and, in a delightful bit of schadenfreude, some owners are reportedly a little pissed that the Patriots got hammered so hard and the Cowboys and Elliott haven’t gotten so much as a slap on the wrist (yet).

From CBS Sports!

According to Dan Patrick on radio Thursday, that accumulation is a problem for Elliott. But there is a bigger problem brewing, Patrick reported in a very interesting segment on his radio show. There is a faction of owners out there who are pressuring NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to punish Elliott in some form or fashion because of previous punishments handed out to other teams.

"This is what's happening with Ezekiel Elliott right now, I was told yesterday. There are other owners -- this happens every single day I was told, because I said how often do owners rat on other owners, and I was told every day," Patrick said. "Somebody has something to say that someone is getting away with something."

(From here on out, emphasis is mine, not that you need my help to see where this is headed)

According to Patrick, the Elliott situation is a combination of several things. There is the Terrelle Pryor situation -- Pryor was suspended by the NFL for something he did in college -- and there is the Patriots situation -- owners were coming to the NFL about pursuing punishment of Tom Brady for the Deflategate incident -- and there is the general domestic violence approach of the league.

"He's going to get punished for something that happened at Ohio State, he was not charged for it, with sexual assault, but he's going to be suspended maybe one or two games. What is happening is other owners are saying to the commissioner, hey, you punished us, make sure you punish the Cowboys here," Patrick said. "That's sort of what's going on behind the scenes. And I said, if you're the players association ... asking this person, does he know if the players association would stand up on Ezekiel Elliott's behalf? That's the key. If Ezekiel Elliott's agent is going to say, one game and we're done with this. If the players' association wants to argue and say, hey, he shouldn't be suspended at all -- he wasn't even an employ of the league and you're suspending him. What is happening is, this happened with the Patriots, some of these owners, but not all of them, owners said, what a minute here, what are you doing with the Patriots here? That's how it blew up."

NFL owners, of course, are more than happy to deal in some House of Cards back-stabbing and drama if it means knocking another team down a peg.

It also should go without saying that all these things that Ezekiel Elliott is accused of being involved in are far, FAR more serious than a game-ball cheating conspiracy accusation. So, now that that’s out of the way, here’s what we’re left with:

NFL teams are watching Elliott go out and make an ass of himself at best and rack up some misdemeanors at worst, and they’re using DeflateGate as their ammo for “Um, Roger, integrity and all that, why is this kid not suspended again?”

What a time to be alive!