Head of diversity group says official’s suspension justified but Williams’s role must be further scrutinized

November 22, 2013

Trent Williams has denied directing a racial slur at umpire Roy Ellison during last Sunday’s game (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The head of the diversity group that accused Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams of directing a racial slur at official Roy Ellison during last Sunday’s game at Philadelphia said Friday that the NFL needs to further scrutinize Williams’s role in the incident.

The NFL suspended Ellison for one game without pay Friday for using profanity at Williams. Williams denied the allegation Thursday that he used a racial slur at Ellison during the incident.

John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said Friday that Ellison’s suspension was justified but the league needs to look at Williams’s conduct.

“We’re not surprised by the fact he was suspended,” Wooten said in a telephone interview. “As hurtful as this whole thing is, it’s still something [disciplining Ellison] that has to be done. The thing I’m hoping is that the truth will come out that Trent did curse him and did use the N-word at him. I don’t know if they [the NFL] will pursue it.”

Wooten said that Ellison was provoked by Williams’s use of a racial slur at him.

“There no way Roy would have said that just randomly, said this to Trent without being provoked,” Wooten said. “Now, that doesn’t excuse what [Ellison] said. But players should not have the right to say whatever they want to say to an official.”

Ellison and Williams are African-American. Wooten said the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which was formed to promote diversity in hiring at all levels of the NFL, represents Ellison and other African-American officials.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

More on the Redskins:

NFL suspends official for one game for verbal abuse of Trent Williams

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Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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Mark Maske · November 22, 2013

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