Trent Williams Accuses Referees of Unprofessional Behavior During Loss to Eagles

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2013

USA Today

Apparently, the referees in Sunday's Week 11 game between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles had some pointed opinions on Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams. And based on his comments after the game, Williams isn't going to take them lightly.   

Speaking with reporters after the Redskins' 24-16 loss, Williams went on an expletive-laced tirade, ripping into officials for what he felt was disrespectful behavior. According to Williams, the referees made multiple derogatory references to his weight, per NBC Washington's Dianna Marie Russini:

Updates from Friday, Nov. 22:

According to Mark Maske of The Washington Post, Williams won't be punished for his tirade:

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.

---End of Update---

It was a difficult contest for Williams, who, along with the rest of the offensive line, struggled to protect quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin was sacked four times and hurried throughout the contest, including his fourth-quarter interception that clinched the game for Philadelphia.

Eagles defensive end Trent Cole, who lined up across from Williams, sacked Griffin twice and spent a good amount of his afternoon in the Redskins backfield. Still, no matter how poorly he played, Williams indicated that had no bearing on his postgame tirade:

Williams singled out umpire Roy Ellison in particular. Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Ellison called Williams a “garbage a** disrespectful motherf*****.” Veteran lineman Kory Lichtensteiger backed up his teammate's claims, and indicated that the scene was unlike anything he'd ever experienced before.

Referee Roy Ellison
Referee Roy EllisonUSA TODAY Sports

There was no word on a possible inciting incident that could have drawn Ellison's ire. Williams was penalized for holding in the second quarter on a Griffin sack, but was otherwise uninvolved with any other flag-inducing plays.

Phillips asked for comment from head referee Walt Coleman after the game, but did not find a very cooperative Coleman:

Coleman came to the window and asked how he could help me. I repeated Williams’ comments, and asked him to comment on whether that occurred. He said OK, then directed the driver to roll up the window.

After the window of the bus was rolled up, it then began driving and left the facility. No further comment was given.

Mark Mask and Mike Jones of the Washington Post provide this quote from Williams, who denies directing a racial slur at an Ellison:

Williams said he did not direct a racial slur at Ellison. Both Williams and Ellison are African American. “I never directed any derogatory statement toward any referee,” Williams said at Redskins Park.

“If I ever said anything like that to a ref and he feels that strongly about the word, that’s at least an unsportsmanlike [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.

While it's unclear whether Coleman was privy to what was going on, the NFL will launch an investigation into the allegations according to Pro Football Talk. Professionalism and the absence of bias are paramount for any officiating crew, and Ellison violated both principles if the Redskins' claims have any merit.

According to Ian Rapoport of, the league is still investigating the claims made by Williams:

Mike Shanahan was asked about the accusations on Monday and gave his thoughts via the Redskins' Twitter feed:

Later on Monday, former NFL head of officials and current FOX Sports analyst Mike Pereira gave his take on the situation (via CBS Sports): 

“What concerns me about this is I sat in the same chair that [NFL VP of Officiating] Dean Blandino, the vice president of officiating, is sitting in right now, with the same official, Roy Ellison, who years ago allegedly shouted and swore at players, and it was a big issue that I had to deal with,” Pereira said, via PFT. “I actually had to talk with him in the office to make sure that none of this was going on. So the fact that it has happened twice now with the same individual has to concern the league, and I know they are taking a strong look at this.”

Ellison has served as an NFL umpire since 2003. He has never been publicly accused of inappropriate behavior previously.  

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