By SCHUYLER DIXON, AP Pro Football Writer

The NFL says Commissioner Roger Goodell was aware of one of his lead investigator’s view that Ezekiel Elliott shouldn’t be disciplined before the Dallas running back was suspended for six games in a domestic violence case.

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League spokesman Brian McCarthy on Friday disputed a key claim in a lawsuit filed by the players’ union on behalf of Elliott seeking to vacate an upcoming ruling on an appeal. McCarthy says Goodell knew of investigator Kia Roberts’ belief that Elliott’s accuser wasn’t credible before deciding to suspend Elliott.

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Arbitrator Harold Henderson is expected to rule on Elliott’s appeal soon. The lawsuit filed late Thursday night in federal court in Texas seeks to pre-empt Henderson’s ruling with the intent of making Elliott eligible to play in the season opener Sept. 10 against the New York Giants.

Elliott, the NFL’s 2016 rushing leader as a rookie, was suspended after the league concluded he used physical force last summer in Ohio against Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time. Prosecutors didn’t pursue the case, citing conflicting evidence. Elliott denied the allegations under oath in the appeal hearing, according to the lawsuit.
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