The NFL placed referee Roy Ellison on administrative leave as it investigates an altercation between the umpire and Buffalo defensive end Jerry Hughes after the Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins 21-17 on Sunday.
The NFL Referees Association, in a statement Wednesday, said it expects Ellison to be cleared.
“Video from last week’s game shows (Ellison) was verbally threatened by a player who has a well-documented history of abusive language and inappropriate actions towards our officials. While we are disappointed that the NFL has yet to address that aspect of the incident, we look forward to working with the League during its review and will ensure that Roy’s rights are protected during this process,” said NFLRA executive director Scott Green.
Hughes was caught on video yelling at an unidentified official in the bowels of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., and heard bellowing, “I’ll catch you.” Hughes is also heard accusing the object of his ire of calling him an expletive.
As another player and a Bills official direct Hughes to the locker room, Hughes is heard saying, “I’m going to knock his … out when I see him. I’m going to hurry up and get dressed. He called me a (expletive).”
Asked after the game if he had confronted an official, Hughes said he did not and did “not recall” an official calling him an expletive during the game.
When told there was video of the episode, he said. “I would love to see this video.”
Ellison, a full-time umpire in his 16th season, was suspended for one game in 2013 for using abusive language aimed at Washington Redskins offensive lineman Trent Williams.
Hughes, a nine-year veteran and former first-round pick, has 6.0 sacks this season and 45.5 for his career. He has twice been fined for abusive language directed at officials, in 2014 and 2015.
—Field Level Media