The 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.