August 24th, 2017 – It’s all in a name. Even if you’re the farthest possible thing from a deceased Confederate General.
After the violence and controversy surrounding the Charlottesville incident where Neo-Nazi marchers clashed with protesters and led to the death of 1 civilian and 2 officers, ESPN decided on Tuesday that it would pull Asian sports announcer “Robert Lee” from the scheduled UVA Cavaliers game in Charlottesville. The game will take place on September 2nd against William and Mary, but Lee has now been switched to the Youngstown State at Pittsburgh game.
“We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties. It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play by play for a football game has become an issue.”
Outkick blogger Clay Travis, who broke the story, led the charge in blasting ESPN for the move:
“But, seriously, is there anything more pathetic than ESPN believing people would be offended by an Asian guy named Robert Lee sharing a name with Robert E. Lee and calling a football game? Aside from some hysterical photoshops and Internet memes which would make everyone with a functional brain laugh — Robert E. Lee pulling out all the stops to stay in Charlottesville now! — what was the big fear here? Does ESPN really believe people are this dumb or that having an Asian announcer named Robert Lee is too offensive for the average TV viewer to handle?”
Clay started calling ESPN “MS-ESPN” in ridicule of its political correctness.
And social media was eager to share the jabs at the sports network:
Yo @ESPN, I think viewers will know the difference between Robert E Lee the confederate general and Robert Lee the football announcer. pic.twitter.com/sMO86DMGOl