Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; MLB umpire Roy Ellison (81) smiles while on the field during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Referees Association to challenge suspension of Roy Ellison

The NFL Referees Association has responded to the news that Roy Ellison has suspended for one game by the NFL for verbal abuse in the situation with Trent Williams of the Washington Redskins.  They have released the following statement outlining their issue with the suspension and a culture within the league:

“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.

Not only is this statement challenging the particular issue that led to the suspension of Ellison, but it makes a believable case, considering all of the fallout in recent weeks around the N-word in professional sports.  It remains to be seen how this will turn out, but there at least appears to be some fault to be found on both sides in this particular situation.

Tags: NFL Referees Roy Ellison Trent Williams Washington Redskins