Mike Carey sat quietly by himself in the CBS NFL game-day studio in Manhattan on Monday. As he had for 19 integrity-driven seasons as one of the league’s most highly respected officials, the network’s recently hired rules analyst blended seamlessly into the background, doing what every good official does:
Be unobtrusive and let the stars shine.
So while Phil Simms, Greg Gumbel, James Brown, Lesley Visser, Deion Sanders and more of CBS’s luminaries answered to a cadre of journalists whether they would use the name of Washington’s NFL team on broadcasts, Carey sat still. No one approached. His secret of almost eight years was safe, if for just a few more minutes.
“I’ve called them Washington all my life,” he said, when finally asked. “And I will continue to call them Washington.”
Unbeknownst to that studio full of cameras, media, analysts, play-by-play men and network executives, Carey’s feelings on the name issue in Washington were established long before CBS sports chairman Sean McManus admirably this year gave his on-air talent the choice during NFL broadcasts of whether to use the team’s name — which in parts of desensitized Washington is akin to “Lions” or “Broncos,” yet is a dictionary-defined racial slur, degrading tens of thousands of Native Americans now being spoken for and heard from for the first time in decades.