Michael Arnold, NFLRA legal counsel, said Ellison is an accomplished 11-year veteran who is highly respected.
“The NFL imposed its judgment upon him without consideration of all the facts,” Arnold said. “The decision was arbitrary and unjustified and will be challenged with an immediate grievance.”
Jim Quirk, NFLRA executive director, said the “NFL’s decision to suspend Mr. Ellison creates a double standard for what is acceptable on field conduct.” He and Arnold cited the league’s decision to take no action against Williams.
“The League insists that officials are held to a ‘high standard’ but others involved in the game are held to no standard,” Quick added. “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.”
Williams, 25, said on Wednesday he didn’t expect the league to punish Ellison, saying the NFL would “probably sweep it under the rug.” He also reiterated that he did not say anything provocative to Ellison.
“If I said something of that nature to him, it’s at least a flag, or I’m thrown out of the game,” Williams said. “I’d never say anything like that to a referee.”
Said Wooten: “I know that Trent has said he didn’t say that. If that’s what he wants to live with, he can live with that.”