It was certainly a day of frustration for the Washington Redskins, who were swept in their season series with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Philadelphia's 24-16 victory gave the 6-5 Eagles sole possession of first place in the NFC East, while the 3-7 Redskins may be out of the playoff race entirely. Robert Griffin III was sacked four times on the day, and left tackle Trent Williams, who has played fairly well most of the season, gave up at least one of those sacks, and was also called for offensive holding late in the first half.
But if what Williams said after the game is correct, nothing about his on-field performance excuses what referee Walt Coleman's crew said to him. Dianna Marie Russini, a sports anchor for NBC Washington, relayed on her Twitter feed that Williams told reporters that the "refs were getting in their heads ... They were unprofessional. [Calling Williams a] Garbage-a-- disrespectful mother f---..."
Williams singled out umpire Roy Ellison by number, according to CSN Washington.
Several other Redskins reporters confirmed this, adding that while Williams' teammates told him to stop criticizing the officials, Williams said that the NFL is a players' league, and what Coleman's crew did was wrong. According to ESPN's John Keim, guard Kory Lichtensteiger backed Williams' account of the events.
"I've never heard anything like that before in my life," Lichtensteiger said. "I don't know what it was, but that guy came out with some kind of vendetta. I don't have a lot else to say, but I heard that comment."
"I just don’t think there’s no room for you to have to take that from the team and the refs," Williams said. "I think it’s very unprofessional and it sucks. I’m at a loss for words. You never expect that as a player going into a game to have to beef with the refs also.”
Receiver Pierre Garcon told Williams to stop talking about the refs, because he would be fined. Williams replied that he hoped the refs would be fined, as well.
After the game, Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch requested an audience with Coleman and his crew. NFL policy dictates that a pool reporter can ask game officials about calls and other incidents following a game. Phillips wrote that he was taken to the Eagles' locker room to speak with designated pool reporter Reuben Frank, but Frank was conducting interviews. So, the media relations person asked that Phillips serve in that role. Phillips was directed to the bus where Coleman's crew was preparing to depart from the stadium.
I walked over to the bus, and requested to the driver that he get Walt Coleman, head referee.
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.
This is the second time in a little over a year that a Redskins player has accused a game official of verbal abuse. In Washington's 27-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 28, 2012, cornerback DeAngelo Hall was ejected from the game after he argued with head linesman Dana McKenzie. On the following Tuesday, Hall went on local radio to try to explain his side of things.
"From that particular camera angle, you can't see what that ref [is] saying to me," Hall told WJFK-FM, per The Washington Post. "So it looks like I'm just out there giving him a piece of my mind, and he's smiling and walks away. And that's not the case at all. He's dishing it out just as much as I'm dishing it out.
"It's not a system in place where ... they're the good cops and we're the criminals," he said. "It has to be an even playing field, a level playing field. ... If they want us to go out there and respect them, they have to do the same thing.
"Nobody is going out there trying to bully the referees, and likewise, they shouldn't be out there trying to bully us."
Hall was fined, but not suspended, for his ejection.