Will Dalvin Cook Be Suspended?

Dalvin Cook is attempting to settle a domestic violence lawsuit filed in November 2021. Could the NFL ultimately suspend him?

Dalvin Cook remains a free agent after being released by the Minnesota Vikings earlier this summer. As the running back attempts to find a new NFL home, he has reportedly offered an ex-girlfriend $1 million to exonerate him from domestic violence allegations made in 2021, as the Star Tribune reported this week. Now that Cook’s attempted settlement has become public, could he end up being suspended by the NFL?

Will the NFL Suspend Dalvin Cook?

In November 2021, Gracelyn Trimble, Cook’s former girlfriend, filed a lawsuit accusing Cook of domestic abuse. Per the suit, Cook allegedly left Trimble with “a concussion, leaving a scar on my face and taking me through hell.” Trimble said she deployed Mace on Cook before locating a gun and calling for help, at which point Cook attacked her with a broomstick.

Cook, meanwhile, has denied the allegations, instead indicating that Trimble used a stolen garage door opener to enter his house and attack him and a guest. Cook’s lawyer said Trimble has attempted to use the incident to extort money, and Cook subsequently filed a defamation lawsuit.

In July 2023, the Star Tribune reported on a sealed filing from Trimble’s attorney. The filing revealed Cook initially offered Trimble $800,000 “to sign a sworn affidavit denying abuse claims.” However, as the Tribune notes, Trimble has already testified under oath regarding her abuse claims.

After Trimble’s attorney said she would refuse to sign a “fraudulent document,” Cook’s team increased his offer to $1 million. This offer included a mandate that Trimble send a letter to the NFL “relieving Mr. Cook of all wrongdoing.” Trimble has rejected both offers.

In her most recent filing, Trimble offered more details on the November 2021 incident, alleging Cook threw her into a coffee table, causing her forehead and nose to bleed. When she attempted to clean off the blood, Cook pinned her to the ground, aimed his rifle at her head, and shouted death threats, per the suit.

As Pro Football Talk notes, settlement offers are not allowed to be used as evidence in a civil trial. Still, because news of the settlement has become public, it could theoretically alter how the NFL handles any potential Cook discipline.

The police were never called during the November 2021 incident, and Cook is not facing any legal charges. However, that wouldn’t prevent the NFL from stepping in, as they’ve previously suspended players who have not been convicted of a crime. Under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, the standard ban for physical violence has been set at six games.

Cook has been linked to several teams since being released by the Vikings in June. It remains to be seen how his attempted settlement with Trimble will affect his free agency, but clubs could potentially be wary of signing Cook now that the settlement offer has become public.

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