The NFL has suspended umpire Roy Ellison without pay for one game after he allegedly cursed at Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams last Sunday.
“NFL game officials are expected to avoid personal confrontations with players and be respectful of players and coaches at all times,” the league announced. “The NFL-NFLRA collective bargaining agreement states that 'at no time will a game official engage in any conduct which adversely affects or reflects on the NFL or which results in the impairment of public confidence in the honest and orderly conduct of league games or the integrity or good character of its game officials.'”
Williams alleged that Ellison called him a “garbage-ass, disrespectful m —- f—-“
Ellison is expected to immediately appeal the grievance, the NFL Referees Association announced.
“Roy Ellison is an accomplished 11-year veteran who is highly respected,” said Michael Arnold, the NFLRA legal counsel. “The NFL imposed its judgment upon him without consideration of all the facts. The decision was arbitrary and unjustified and will be challenged with an immediate grievance.”
Ellison has alleged that Williams used the N-word toward Ellison.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance has alleged that Williams told Ellison “f—” you” and called him the N-word.
“The NFL's decision to suspend Mr. Ellison creates a double standard for what is acceptable on field conduct,” NFLRA executive director Jim Quirk said in a statement. “The league insists that officials are held to a 'high standard' but others involved in the game are held to no standard.”
Williams jhas denied making any offensive comments to Ellison.
“I didn't say any derogatory statements to him,” Williams said. “That still doesn't account for anything he said. No ref could ever say I used any language toward them. You've got to watch what you say to them. … If I said it, why wait until I'm at the line to come back and say [what he did]?”
Here's the full statement from Arnold:
“The NFL’s decision to suspend Mr. Ellison creates a double standard for what is acceptable on field conduct,” Quirk said. “The League insists that Officials are held to a “high standard” but others involved in the game are held to no standard. Apparently the NFL accepts and condones a culture where players, coaches and teams can use racial slurs and profanity toward each other and at Officials. Music played in locker rooms and in the stadiums before games include racial slurs (including the “N” word) and references to sexual violence with impunity.
“These types of cheap slurs and racial banter on the field often lead to angry and emotional responses which can result in fighting and injury. This is completely contrary to the atmosphere of sportsmanship and respect the League says should exist in the game. The NFLRA joins others in calling for an immediate end to a culture which tolerates the use of racially or sexually charged language by players, coaches, field personnel or in stadium audio/video display.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.