Referees' blue flags called 'sexist' after pink whistle flap

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 16, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 20 at 9:12 AM

SEATTLE -- This time, the flap over high school football referees is not over pink whistles for breast cancer -- it's over blue flags for prostate cancer.

All this weekend, Washington's high school football refs will be throwing blue flags to remind men to get regular check-ups.

But some are throwing a flag at the Washington Officials Association, saying there is a double standard. Last year a group of high school football referees were suspended for using pink whistles. This year's blue flags didn't raise any concerns.

It just so happens that this weekend is the Susan G. Komen three-day breast cancer walk, where many people called the move sexist.

"If they made such a stink about outlawing it for the breast cancer thing, why are they allowing it for prostate cancer?" says Steve Hamilton, who supports breast cancer research.

"They should do pink, they should do green, they should do yellow, they should do blue for every kind of cancer if that's what they want to do, but they have to be fair," says breast cancer survivor Bev Johnson.

The difference between the blue flags and the pink whistles appears to be that the referees who used the whistles didn't get it cleared by the Washington Officials Association beforehand, unlike the flags. The group's president says hundreds of officials from different sports support various causes for both men and women and the system is neither sexist nor chauvinistic.

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