NFL Referee Asked Out of Working Redskins Games

Mike Carey, an NFL official who was named in a 2008 Sports Illustrated coach’s poll as one of the two best refs in the league, revealed Monday that he purposefully hasn’t worked a Redskins game in eight seasons. From the Washington Post:

“The league respectfully honored my request not to officiate Washington,” Carey said. “It happened sometime after I refereed their playoff game in 2006, I think.”

Carey, who has spent 19 seasons as an NFL referee, was the first black official to work a Super Bowl. The Redskins team name has long been an issue close to his heart.

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“I’ve called them Washington all my life,” said Carey “And I will continue to call them Washington.”

Carey never made demands to avoid Washington’s games, and the request never made it up to Roger Goodell. But Carey made it clear to his immediate bosses that he preferred to be somewhere else if possible. The league complied for the final eight seasons of Carey’s career, which spanned 146 games.

“Human beings take social stances,” said Carey. “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. I know that if a team had a derogatory name for African Americans, I would help those who helped extinguish that name. ... The popularity contest is not an issue. It doesn’t matter how many people don’t like it. It is disrespectful and I will not use it.”