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.
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From The Washington Post:
â€śIt 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,â€ť Carey said.
Told how uncommon his social stance was for a referee, whose primary professional goal is to be unbiased, Carey shook his head.
â€śHuman beings take social stances,â€ť Mike Carey said â€śAnd if youâ€™re respectful of all human beings, you have to decide what youâ€™re going to do and why youâ€™re going to do it.â€ť
The last Redskins game Carey officiated was a playoff matchup on Jan. 7, 2006,Â when he ejected Sean Taylor for spitting on Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman.
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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 aÂ change.
A month later, the U.S. Patent OfficeÂ canceled six federal trademark registrationsÂ for the Redskins becauseÂ theÂ nickname is â€śdisparaging to Native Americansâ€ť and cannot be trademarked under federal law that prohibits protection on offensive or disparaging language.
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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.
â€‹- Sarah Barshop