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NFL suspends umpire Ellison for one game



NFL Referees Association denounces Ellison suspension

The NFL has suspended umpire Roy Ellison (#81) for one game for a “profane and derogatory” statement to the Washington Redskins’  Trent Williams.

According to multiple reports, Ellison is supposed to have referred to Williams as “a garbage ass disrespectful motherfucker.”

In a statement, the NFL commented,

NFL game officials are expected to avoid personal confrontations with players and be respectful of players and coaches at all times.  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.’

Ellison was the umpire for Super Bowl XLIII and he made a terrific holding call against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the end zone late in the 4th quarter, making the penalty a safety against the Steelers and giving two points to the Arizona Cardinals.

Ellison is a member of Walt Coleman’s crew who will be in Kansas City this weekend for the Chargers – Chiefs game.  Rich Hall (#49), umpire on Ed Hochuli’s crew, will replace Ellison for this game.  Hochuli’s crew is off this weekend.


The NFL Referees Association released a statement denouncing the Ellison suspension.  NFLRA legal counsel Michael Arnold commented, “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.”  The heat is being further turned up on the situation as the NFLRA alleges that Williams called Ellison the “N” word. Both Ellison and Williams are African-American.  Williams denies the allegation.

NFLRA executive director Jim Quirk added,

“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.”

This situation is far from over.


Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"