NFL Referees Association denounces league’s suspension of Roy Ellison

The National Football League Referees Association on Friday evening issued a statement in response to the league’s decision to suspend Roy Ellison one game without pay for his profane comments directed at Redskins left tackle Trent Williams.

In addition to criticizing the NFL for a “rush to judgment” and ignoring the alleged racial slur that Williams directed at Ellison, the NFLRA declared intentions to file an immediate grievance on behalf of Ellison.

Williams has denied cursing at Ellison or directing any derogatory terms at the referee.

Umpire Roy Ellison was suspended one game after exchanging words with Trent Williams during Sunday's game against the Eagles. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post) Umpire Roy Ellison was suspended one game after exchanging words with Trent Williams during Sunday’s game against the Eagles. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The NFLRA’s statement reads as follows:

The National Football League Referees Association (NFLRA) denounced the NFL’s one game suspension of umpire Roy Ellison as a rush to judgment without hearing Ellison’s side of the story. Michael Arnold, NFLRA Legal Counsel, said “Roy Ellison is an accomplished 11 year veteran who is highly respected. 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.”

Mr. Arnold went on to say “the NFL has chosen to ignore the racial slur directed by Trent Williams at Roy Ellison. Williams said to Ellison “F___ you N-word”, an inflammatory personal attack on Ellison.
NFLRA Executive Director Jim Quirk stated “The NFL’s decision to suspend Mr. Ellison creates a double standard for what is acceptable on field conduct. 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.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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Mark Maske · November 22, 2013

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