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Mike Carey avoided refereeing Redskins games because of team name

Mike-CareyThe Washington Redskins team name debate may have emerged as a hot topic over the last year, but there are plenty of people who have had a problem with the racist undertones associated with the nickname for years. Former NFL referee Mike Carey is one of them.

Carey, who recently retired after 19 seasons as an NFL ref and is now the rules analyst for CBS Sports, began quietly protesting the term Redskins back in 2006. It was then that Carey asked that the NFL not assign him to any Washington games for the preseason or regular season, and the league honored his request.

“I’ve called them Washington all my life,” Carey told Mike Wise of the Washington Post. “And I will continue to call them Washington. The league respectfully honored my request not to officiate Washington. It happened sometime after I refereed their playoff game in 2006, I think.”

Carey, the first African-American official to ever work a Super Bowl, was one of the most respected referees in the NFL. He said he kept his request private and never went to Roger Goodell to discuss the issue.

“It just became clear to me that to be in the middle of the field, where something disrespectful is happening, was probably not the best thing for me,” Carey explained. “I know that if a team had a derogatory name for African Americans, I would help those who helped extinguish that name. I have quite a few friends who are Native Americans. And even if I didn’t have Native American friends, the name of the team is disrespectful.”

Carey’s interesting revelation comes in the wake of two prominent NFL broadcasters saying they will avoid using the term Redskins this season. We’re guessing Mike Ditka would strongly disagree with Carey’s social stance.

Tony Dungy, Phil Simms will try not to use word ‘Redskins’

Washington Redskins helmetMost major television networks have left it up to their television personalities on whether they want to use the term “Redskins” this season or not. With increasing pressure from politicians and other influential groups, the Washington Redskins seem destined to change their nickname at some point. The process might be accelerated if people just stop using it.

“My very first thought is it will be Washington the whole game,” Simms told The Associated Press, via NBC 4 Washington. “I never really thought about it, and then it came up and it made me think about it. There are a lot of things that can come up in a broadcast, and I am sensitive to this.”

Dungy, who is a major staple of the NBC Sunday Night Football telecast, agrees.

“I will personally try not to use Redskins and refer to them as Washington,” Dungy said. “Personal opinion for me, not the network.”

But for every Simms and Dungy, there are plenty of broadcasters and analysts who say they will commit to using the term Redskins as long as that is the name of the team.

“There are so many Redskins fans that take great pride in the name,” CBS’ Rich Gannon, who spent a season playing in Washington, said. “(Owner) Daniel Snyder has said he’s talked and visited with (many) American Indian nations who are supportive of the name. And there are those who oppose it who are being heard. It’s an important topic.”

Jim Nantz, Boomer Esiason, Solomon Wilcots and Troy Aikman also said they will continue to call the Redskins by name until it is no longer their name.

There are even some prominent former Redskins players who believe owner Daniel Snyder should change the name of his franchise, but Snyder has refused to back down. In fact, Snyder recently bought some “Keep the Name” T-shirts from a street vendor. Still, I believe it is only a matter of time before he is forced to fold.

Anti-Redskins commercial to air during NBA Finals (Video)

Redskins-adA commercial that will lobby for the Washington Redskins to change their name is set to air in seven major cities during halftime of Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night. The airtime was purchased by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, a tribe based in California.

According to the Washington Post, the tribe called the ad a “significant investment” that was needed to further the discussion about the racist nature of the term “Redskins.”

The ad, which will air in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, will be a shortened version of the video you see above. It highlights a number of words that Native Americans are proud to be associated with and ends with the “one thing they don’t call themselves” before cutting to an image of a Redskins helmet.

Good luck fighting to keep that name, Dan Snyder.

Video via Deadspin

Michael Sam kiss debate leads Dallas talk show host to walk off set (Video)

Amy KushnirThe kiss(es) Michael Sam shared with his boyfriend Vito Cammisano upon being drafted in the seventh round on Saturday instantly became a huge talking point and resulted in no shortage of controversy.

Everybody has an opinion on the matter. Some applauded ESPN’s decision to televise the entire emotional reaction; some would have preferred for the intimate acts to be left out; and many more were downright offended by the site of two men kissing, which says more to me about them than anything else.

Days after the kiss, the arguments have persisted and even led one talk show host to walk off a set because she was so frustrated at having her views challenged.

[Related: Michael Sam gets reality show on Oprah Winfrey Network]

The video above comes from a show called “The Broadcast” on KTXD in Dallas. Two of the four women have a more progressive view regarding the kiss (Lisa Pineiro and Courtney Kerr), while the other two (Amy Kushnir and Suzie Humphreys) have a conservative/outraged view. Kushnir grows so frustrated with the discussion that by the end of the segment, she takes her stuff and walks off the set.

Even though she will receive a lot of negative press for this, I thought she was completely composed during the debate and handled herself well while expressing her opinion. I don’t post this to mock her, but rather to illustrate how sensitive this topic has become.

Also see: Meet Michael Sam’s boyfriend Vito Cammisano

H/T Jimmy Traina

Harry Reid: Redskins name will be changed within three years

Washington Redskins helmetThe Washington Redskins have found a new way to try convincing people that the name of their team is not racist in nature. The team announced earlier this week that it will be making a number of charitable contributions to Native Americans, including over 3,000 cold weather coats, sneakers for boys and girls basketball players and a backhoe for a tribe in Omaha.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sees the new movement as a “phony deal” that is not going to help Daniel Snyder keep the Redskins name.

“Dan Snyder, he’s got a great new deal,” Reid told Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog on Thursday. “He’s going to throw a few blankets to the Indians and get a tax deduction for it. I can’t imagine why the man doesn’t realize that the name is going to change. It’s only a question of when it’s going to change. That’s the only question.”

Snyder has said in the past that the team will never changes its name, despite pressure from the mayor of Washington, D.C. and many others. Reid insists Snyder is on the “losing side of history,” citing similar issues like the University of North Dakota changing its Fighting Sioux nickname after Las Vegas multimillionaire Ralph Engelstad built the school a new hockey arena to try to convince them to keep the name.

“I think the name will be changed within the next three years,” Reid said. “You know, I may slip a year or two, but I think it’s just a question of time. Because Native Americans are organized. We have Native Americans who now are not all poor. We’ve got these Indian gaming establishments who have money, who are gonna help with this. And Dan Snyder’s not the only person in the world with money.”

Reid’s probably right. The issue is not going to go away no matter how much money Snyder throws at Native American tribes and organizations or how many letters Roger Goodell writes to Congress. Eventually, the pressure will become too great to overcome.

Transgender athlete Chloie Jonnson suing Crossfit for not allowing her to compete with women

Chloie-JonnsonA transgender athlete has filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against CrossFit after the popular fitness company refused to let her compete in the women’s division of upcoming the CrossFit Games.

Chloie Jonnson was born with a penis but underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2006. According to TMZ, she is legally recognized as a woman by the state of California. Despite that, CrossFit maintains that Jonnson has certain physiological advantages over women since she was born as a man.

“We have simply ruled that based upon [Chloie] being born as a male, she will need to compete in the Men’s Division,” the company wrote in a letter that was obtained by TMZ. The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women.”

Jonnson claims CrossFit is violating her civil rights by not letting her compete as a woman. The company does not seem to be feel threatened by the legal action.

“Our decision has nothing to do with ‘ignorance’ or being bigots — it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school,” CrossFit wrote.

CrossFit added that transgender athletes are welcomed into their gyms with open arms but that they will always remain committed to ensuring fairness when it comes to competition.

I’m no legal expert on this kind of stuff, so I really can’t say who is right or wrong here. Chloie is 5-foot-4 and weighs 151 pounds, so it’s not like she’d tower over the female competition. It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit is settled.

High school students chant ‘We want Slurpees’ at student who appeared to be Indian (Video)

We-Want-Slurpees-chantA group of students from Pittsford Southerland High School in New York embarrassed themselves during a basketball game last Friday night when they taunted an opposing player from Brighton High School who appeared to be of Indian decent. The students chanted “We Want Slurpees” while the opponent was at the free throw line, which is a reference to Indian-Americans owning 7-Eleven stores.

According to WROC 8, the Pittsford student who was leading the chant was removed from the game. The superintendents from both school regions released a joint statement on Monday regarding the incident.

“We were very disappointed to learn of this incident,” Brighton’s Kevin McGowan and Pittsford’s Mike Pero said. “We have been working with our colleagues in both districts throughout the weekend to address intolerant and unacceptable fan behavior. That work continues today. The students involved took full responsibility for their behavior, and attempts are being made to right this wrong between the students and to address the long- term learning that can arise from the disappointing behaviors of a few.”

The students who were responsible for the chant could face further disciplinary action from the school. The player who was taunted declined to comment.

Unfortunately, we see this type of stuff happen at all levels of sports. Last year, the Washington student section passed out flyers that encouraged students to taunt an opponent over his Iranian background. It’s just as uncalled for in high school as it is in college.

H/T Deadspin