Mike Carey was an NFL referee for 19 seasons before joining CBS to act as the network's rules analyst during NFL broadcasts. On Monday, Carey told the Washington Post's Mike Wise that he hasn't worked a Washington game since 2006, after specifically requesting that he not be assigned to their games because of the team's offensive name.
From the 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," 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."
That was a pretty ballsy move by Carey, and given that the anti-Washington fervor wasn't nearly as intense in 2006 as it is now, it's pretty surprising that the NFL honored his request.
Carey couldn't say for sure that Roger Goodell knew about his arrangement with the league, and he played it coy when Wise asked him who specifically honored his request. It was most likely Mike Pereira, who is now a rules analyst for Fox but was the senior director of officiating in 2006.
Wise's entire column is worth a read, as Carey has a lot of smart, sensible things to say about why he made his decision.