ESPN pulled an announcer from covering an upcoming college football game at the University of Virginia because he shares the same name as Confederate General Robert E. Lee – even though the announcer is Asian-American.
ESPN removed college football announcer Robert Lee from covering the William & Mary at University of Virginia football game on September 2, 2017, because they were concerned it would be offensive to viewers, OutKick The Coverage reported Tuesday night.
After OutKick The Coverage published the report, ESPN gave the following statement:
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.
ESPN, which has become increasingly left-leaning in recent years as it continues dabbling into political issues, received a significant amount of backlash from social media following the announcement:
Fun fact: ESPN pulls an announcer from a broadcast because of his name, Robert Lee. He is Asian. Don’t think this is going to stop. pic.twitter.com/7r52huKzH1
— Disco Superboogie™ (@therealDiscoSB) August 22, 2017
Oh my STUPID: They pulled Asian announcer Robert Lee because his named is too close 2 Confederate General Robert E. Lee to avoid “offending” https://t.co/8t498tTe5N
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) August 22, 2017
A report by the DC in May highlighted the mass exodus from ESPN by conservative viewers as the network becomes increasingly liberal, which may explain why the network laid off approximately 100 employees earlier this spring.