Make sure to be on the right side of history

Make sure to be on the right side of history

It seems like more than ever, people are sticking to their colors, digging in and holding strong to the beliefs they were force fed as children.

They will argue online and face to face to defend their stance, right or wrong. As comedian Bill Burr says, they go to and find any nuggets of fact to back up their stance.

They start with conclusion and work backward to justify that end.

We will look back on these times years from now, and wouldn’t it be nice to know that you were on the right side of history?

Of course, I’m referring to the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott.

The Dallas Cowboys superstar running back was suspended for six games following his unbelievable rookie season in the NFL. The league disciplined the running back because Commissioner Roger Goodell believes he is guilty of domestic violence.

That has sent many Cowboys fans into such a tizzy that they now find themselves standing on the side of someone who more than likely — and on multiple occasions — hit a woman.

Granted, the City Attorney’s Office in Columbus, Ohio, decided there was not enough proof to press charges on the recent Ohio State football star.

That, along with the fact that the alleged victim has not been the most trustworthy witness, is enough for Cowboys fans — or, more likely, fantasy football geeks — to decry the NFL and the commissioner for handing down the suspension.

You will have to excuse us if we take the findings of the City Attorney’s Office in a crazed football town with a grain of salt.

Remember when law enforcement in Tallahassee kind of sort of pretended to investigate a rape allegation involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston before deciding that charging a Heisman Trophy candidate with rape is a fast way to lose an election?

The alleged victim in that case, by the way, had way more credibility than the quarterback she accused. Even after the accusation, Winston was suspended for verbally assaulting a woman in the school’s cafeteria.

Oh, yeah, there’s also that whole stealing crab legs incident too.

The Winston case was not a date rape allegation, either. It was the kind of jump-out-of-the-bushes attack that is on the back of the mind of so many women was they walk down the street alone.

It is scary stuff, but it was not nearly frightening enough to stop Florida State fans — and then Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fantasy fans — from cheering on Winston.

The same goes for Elliott, whose alleged domestic battery was made public long before he gained his first NFL yard.

As long as you stand for the national anthem and you average more than 4 yards per carry, fans will not care if a player commits a murder. Or a double murder as was alleged in the case of former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and ESPN mouthpiece Ray Lewis.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, Lewis was arrested for a double murder. The police and the prosecutors believed he was guilty.

Lewis, though, had money, while his co-defendants did not. So, Lewis cut a deal, plead guilty to obstruction of justice and testified against his buddies while, according to some reports, funding their defense.

The jury then acquitted Lewis’ buddies because the linebacker was not a credible witness.

Ravens fans then cheered as Lewis helped lead Baltimore to a pair of Super Bowl titles. Right Guard paid him to do commercials, and he was put on the cover of the Madden video game multiple times.

So, even though they have more than their fair share of despicable characters to cheer for under Hall of Famer Jerry Jones, Cowboys fans are hardly alone when it comes to cheering for villains.

(On a side note, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Roger Maris are still not in the Hall of Fame, but Jerry Jones is. Sure, they are different Halls of Fame, but still.)

Steelers fans have practically worshiped Ben Roethlisberger because the quarterback delivered Super Bowl rings to the Steel City. He also reached civil settlements with a pair of women who accused him of sexual assault.

In the case of Elliott, the NFL, probably overcompensating for the way it handled Ray Rice punching his fiancé three years ago, apparently investigated the case a lot more thoroughly than the prosecution attorneys.

Maybe he didn’t do it. Yeah, and maybe O.J. Simpson really was framed.

You know who never gets accused of hitting women? Guys who never hit women, that’s who.

While it too often goes unpunished, hitting a woman is one of the lowest things a man can do. It is something that society should never take lightly, no matter how many yards the offender put up as a rookie.

That’s why it is so sad to see that the only outrage in the Elliott case is because and not why he was suspended.

Nobody should ever cheer for Ezekiel Elliot.

When he returns from suspension (or plays while appealing it), fans should boo him like the old lady on The Princess Bride. Every week he should be heckled with the venom usually reserved for guys who, allegedly, let a hair of air out of a football.

He should be ridiculed and mocked like he refused to stand for the national anthem.

Boo because your daughter might encounter a man like that someday.

As we learned in the case of Colin Kaepernick, fans can influence teams. Right or wrong, no team will touch Kaepernick because he protested by sitting, then kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner.

Even though players are protesting long after Kaepernick was blackballed, Kaepernick has been Dixie Chicked. Smart money is that Kaepernick never takes another NFL snap.

So, shaming works. Boycotting works. Burning jerseys works.

Now that we know that, it is time to bring that approach to guys who beat women and guys who have to pay settlements to silence sexual assault allegations.

Burn those No. 7 Steelers jerseys. Shred those No. 21 Cowboys shirts. Stop cheering for Jameis Winston’s fantasy points.

Make sure that when it comes to athletes beating women that you can look back and tell your grandkids that you stood on the right side of history.

On this issue, that should be a pretty easy call.

— Bill Foley writes a column that appears Tuesday on Email him at Follow him at

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