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Ex-NFL ref Mike Carey avoided working Redskins games due to name

Ex-NFL ref Mike Carey avoided working Redskins games due to name Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Former NFL referee Mike Carey told Mike Wise of the Washington Post that he avoided working Washington Redskins games since 2006 because of the team's name.

Carey, who was an NFL referee for 19 years before joining the CBS broadcast team for the 2014-15 season, said he asked those in charge of referee assignments if he could be given other games. Carey also said he asked that his request be kept private.

More: Mike Ditka on Redskins name debate: 'This is so stupid it’s appalling'

From The Washington Post:

“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,” Mike Carey 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.”

The last Redskins game Carey officiated was a playoff matchup on Jan. 7, 2006, when he ejected Sean Taylor for spitting on Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman.

More: Granddaughter of first Redskins owner wants team name changed

The team's nickname has been criticized by Native American groups, a number of lawmakers and other prominent figures, who say the name is racist and offensive. Team owner Dan Snyder has repeatedly stated that he will never change the name.

In May, a letter was signed by 50 United States senators that asked the NFL to push the team toward making a change.

A month later, the U.S. Patent Office canceled six federal trademark registrations for the Redskins because the nickname is “disparaging to Native Americans” and cannot be trademarked under federal law that prohibits protection on offensive or disparaging language.

More: The Battle of Washington

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On Thursday's SI Now, "The Today's Show" co-host Willie Geist discusses the debate over the Washington Redskins name being changed.

- Sarah Barshop

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