The NFL likely will not discipline Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams for his role in an incident with an official during last Sunday’s game at Philadelphia, according to a person with knowledge of the league’s review of the matter.
The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the NFL’s review is ongoing and no decisions have been reached, called disciplinary action against Williams “unlikely.” The league is “still going through the process,” according to the person. Whether disciplinary action against the official, umpire Roy Ellison, is being considered is unclear.
Williams was accused Thursday by a diversity group that works with the NFL of directing a racial slur and profanity at Ellison. Williams denied using a slur and previously alleged that Ellison cursed at him during the game.
John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said in a telephone interview Thursday that Williams directed a profanity and a racial slur at Ellison after Ellison intervened to attempt to stop players from both teams from using abusive language at each other. Ellison responded with profanity aimed at Williams, Wooten said. Both Williams and Ellison are African-American.
“This is to the best of our knowledge,” Wooten said Thursday. “We haven’t talked to Roy. But we are told that the players, black and white, were saying all types of things back and forth during the game. Roy steps in and says, ‘Let’s stop this.’ Trent says to him, ‘[Expletive] you, N-word.’ By all rights, Roy should have thrown his flag there and said, ‘You’re gone.’ But he didn’t. He comes back at Trent with some bad language. Now Roy is wrong, too.”
Williams said Thursday that he “never directed any derogatory statement toward any referee.”
He also said Thursday at Redskins Park: “That’s absurd. If I ever said anything like that to a ref and he feels that strongly about the word, that’s at least an unsportsmanlike [conduct penalty]. Definitely wouldn’t just warrant a tongue-lashing from a guy that’s supposed to be the only neutral person on the field and not to feel either way about either team.
“There’s trash talk. Trash talk is trash talk. You get that in every sport.”
Williams said after the game Sunday that he had been verbally abused by Ellison, identifying the official by his jersey No. 81. Williams said that Ellison called him a “garbage [expletive], disrespectful [expletive].”
Wooten said Thursday that Ellison responded to Williams’s slur by directing a profanity at Williams, although he mentioned a different profanity than the one cited by Williams. Wooten said that Ellison called Williams an “ungrateful [expletive].”
The Fritz Pollard Alliance issued a written statement Thursday urging NFL players “to stop using the ‘N’ word, especially after recent incidents in Washington and Miami.”
A person familiar with the situation said Thursday that the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s information had come from Ellison through Byron Boston, another African-American NFL official. That person said that “no one in the league [office] seems to have a different view of the facts.”
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● Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan speaks to reporters today as well
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