Retired NFL referee Mike Carey, who was one the first black referee in a Super Bowl and one of the league’s top refs for close to 20 years, recently revealed that he requested not to work Washington Redskins games due to the team’s name.
“The league respectfully honored my request not to officiate Washington,” Carey said, via the Washington Post. “It happened sometime after I refereed their playoff game in 2006, I think.”
“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 said.
Told how uncommon his social stance was for a referee, whose primary professional goal is to be unbiased, Carey shook his head.
“Human beings take social stances,” he said. “And if you’re respectful of all human beings, you have to decide what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it.”
Carey’s decision not to ref Washington games was not only noble, but admirable as well. And to keep it a secret for so long is impressive in itself.
There has been much debate whether or not Washington should change their team name from “Redskins” to something that cannot be deemed as disrespectful. As it stands Washington ownership has been reluctant to make the change.
“In America, we’ve learned that respect is the most important thing that you have,” Carey stated. “I learned it from my parents, my schools, from my faith. And when you learn there’s something that might not be as respectful as you like, when you come to terms with it, you have to do something about it.”
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