Earlier this month, Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott was caught on video exposing a woman’s breast in public at a St. Patrick’s Day party, and this past weekend, Elliott attended a yacht party in Miami that attracted a bunch of attention to the Coast Guard.
If Elliott was a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, we would never know about these things, but as a member of the Cowboys, everything will be blown up times 100 and he has to realize it.
On Tuesday’s episode of “Undisputed,” Cris Carter, Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe debated whether the Cowboys should be worried about Elliott moving forward.
Cris Carter: Zeke has proven he’s great but hasn’t proven he can handle being great
“I think that the Cowboys, and the leadership of the Cowboys — not only the player leadership, but the front office — should take notice. Because what you have is a really special talent, and he has come within arm’s distance of the law a couple times already.
“We understand the eyeballs that are on the Dallas Cowboys. We understand the eyeballs on the National Football League. We understand all the eyeballs on all the players.
“Will Zeke be able to handle that? That’s the question. It used to be a question of, ‘How good can he be in the NFL?’ ”
Cris Carter: Elliott has to figure out how to manage his visibility
“Now we’ve seen him … I ask myself, ‘Can he handle being a star in the NFL? Can he handle being a star in Dallas?’ Because being a star in the NFL is one thing. Being a star is certain cities … it means different things.
“And I don’t know. Based on all the information that I have talking to people in Dallas — also I do have a history at Ohio State — I have heard things about Zeke before.
“So this is not surprising to me. I thought Zeke would be more careful, especially initially, given how he came into the NFL under investigation. So, for me, I’m not surprised. Do I think this will continue on? I won’t be surprised if it continues on. I think Zeke — he’s one of those kind of guys … he’s not a bad guy, but he stays just close enough to the fire to get hot. And I worry about him. I worry about how successful he can be in handling the success that’s already been thrust upon him. Because he is a great, great talent, but there are many people who are talented in the NFL, [who] can’t handle the pressure, the visibility on a day-to-day basis.
“That’s what I worry about. Can he manage the visibility on a day-to-day basis? Because he’s really made some poor judgments in a very short career.”
Shannon Sharpe: Dallas was fully aware of Elliott’s character before drafting him
“I’ve been very clear, abundantly clear, that the Cowboys’ head coach and general manager will never, ever have a peaceful night’s sleep — because you’re always worried that the phone’s going to ring and it’s going to be involving Zeke.
“Now it’s the offseason, and things are different now. You have the cell phone, you have all this video, you have all this technology. So I’m not surprised by this. I’m sure the Cowboys are not really surprised, because this is what they do.
“When you’re going to go that high, they’ve done their homework. You see how the FBI found that [Brady] jersey in Mexico? That’s the kind of reach that the NFL has. So when they go do their homework on a guy, they know exactly. They know you stole 15 cents from your grandma in the third grade. They know when you jaywalked in the eighth grade.”
Skip Bayless: Elliott can’t yet tell what’s dangerous and not dangerous
“It’s not often that I turn on my TV and I watch something happen in any kind of game and I say, ‘Wow, that is special.’ This kid is really special. This has Hall of Fame potential.
“But it’s a long way from where he is to that Hall of Fame. Many, many, many [stumbling blocks].
“I do not think he’s a bad kid, I don’t get that feeling. Sometimes a kid just has a bad heart and he’s a bad seed and it’s not going to work. He’s going to get into trouble. But Zeke has no conscience yet about what’s dangerous and not dangerous. He’s daring the devil, if not occasionally dancing with the devil out there. My fear is he’s going to have to fall on his face before he figures it out.
“I don’t want to see it happen, but you’ve seen it before.”
Skip Bayless: Elliott is behaving as if he’s bulletproof
“It’s almost like every other day I open up some website and say, ‘He did it again?! He did that?
“So now we’re told that he was told that he avoided NFL punishment. And I’m pretty sure he was told that before he decided on St. Patrick’s Day or eve or whenever it was to go to a rooftop bar on the edge of downtown Dallas looking down at thousands of people who are looking up at him with all kinds of cell phone cameras, and he [exposed a woman’s breast.]
“So now you think you can get away with just about [anything]. You’re bulletproof, you’re invincible because you play for the Dallas Cowboys. In one of the more dangerous cities in America for pro football players, right? Ask Michael Irvin about that, as you well know. Many Dallas Cowboys.”
Skip Bayless: The Cowboys may want to consider getting Zeke a professional babysitter
“I even advocated the other day, is it time Jerry Jones — and I know this is demeaning and belittling to Ezekiel Elliott — but is it time to do what you did for Pacman Jones or Dez Bryant? You get him a ‘babysitter,’ you get him 24-hour whatever you want to call it. Somebody to watch over and try to keep Zeke out of harm’s way.
“Do you need that guy? It worked for Dez, I don’t think it worked for Pacman.”
Cris Carter: Zeke has to control the monster before it eats him
“Well this is the thing, Skip. Ezekiel is not the same kind of kid and doesn’t have the same, say violent background, as Dez Bryant or Pacman. I mean those guys come from a different … much respect to what they come from, but they come from a different environment.
“What I’m concerned about with Zeke is the overall lack of respect. Lack of respect for the Cowboys. Lack of respect for the shield. And as we saw on St. Patty’s Day, lack of respect for the young lady that was there. Because that was someone’s daughter, that’s someone’s sister.
“And, to me, publicly showing a lack of respect and lack of conscience of what’s really going on in your like. Now how’s he going to handle being in the National Football League? It gets bigger and bigger, the monster gets bigger and bigger until eventually, if you don’t control the monster and put it on a leash, the monster eats you up.”