Jason Witten knows the effect of domestic violence all too well.
The Dallas Cowboys tight end's family was impacted by it when he was growing up and he currently runs a foundation in hopes of preventing it. Witten now finds himself trying to balance supporting Ezekiel Elliott, who was suspended six games Friday for alleged domestic violence, and continuing his strong stance against the act.
"Look, there's no place for a man to put his hand on a woman, and most of you guys know that it's a situation that's affected my family as a kid, and I put a lot of work and attention and have a platform to step out and speak on stopping domestic violence," Witten said Saturday, according to Todd Archer of ESPN. "Having said that, Zeke is continuing to work through it, and he's talked about that. The game and all that stuff, that's not what you deal with. He's our teammate, and we'll continue to work through it with him and have this opportunity to grow from it, and I think that's what his focus is now."
Elliott was never charged, but the NFL deemed Elliott violated the personal conduct policy after a 13-month investigation that included photographic evidence and a panel of experts.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett weighed in on the matter, though he wouldn't comment on whether the ban was justified.
"We talked to our team about the situation and the importance of focusing on what we can control. We can't control what the NFL does," Garrett said. "It's not my place to comment on whether I think it's justified."
The situation has put Witten in a difficult spot, but he remains focused on being a leader in the locker room.
"There's a lot of things there that I just don't know," Witten said. "I've heard what Mr. Jones has said, and I've looked at him as a mentor for 14 years, and I still think a lot of things that just don't know. There's a recent investigation that was dropped, too, so that's something where you grab a teammate and you support him in ways. But that doesn't mean you come off your standard of what you stand for. I'm confident in that because, you know, it's been my life in a lot of ways. I don't take that lightly.
"Quite frankly, it's uncomfortable even having the conversation right now, but you go through it, and (you're) in a position to be a leader, and you continue to show the way and allow guys to grow, and I know that's been a tough year on him. I think that his mindset has been such what he's said, what he's already released, I think that that's a pretty good perspective on what he's trying to do moving forward."
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