ESPN refused to acknowledge whether or not it had plans to pull pundit Robert Ley off of the air, despite the fact that he has the same name as an infamous Nazi official.
In an e-mail to ESPN, The Daily Caller asked if the sports broadcasting giant had a plan for dealing with Ley, considering the network had already pulled ESPN college football commentator Robert Lee from broadcasting a Virginia football game because he shares a name with a Confederate general.
Robert Ley was a Nazi official who “was made head of the German workers’ front after Hitler’s accession to power.”
He “supervised the mobilization of foreign as well as German labour for war work” during World War II and committed suicide during the Nuremberg Trials.
ESPN denied the initial report about Lee being pulled because of his name but completely ignored TheDC’s questions about Ley.
They responded with:
Thanks for reaching out.
Who told you that that is true? You seem very certain.
It is not true that Robert was “pulled from the game” because of his name or that he was mandated to change. That is a lie. Any headline proclaiming that is false.
But I will point you to an email from one of our execs last night to NY Mag that summarizes much of what happened.
I’ve been told by many inquiring media that has helped them understand the full context.
End of day, this was a private conversation with an employee about comfort level out of respect for him and the situation. This was about a person. That’s it.
When pressed again about whether or not Ley and other ESPN employees with names similar to Nazis or Confederate leaders would potentially be pulled off of the air, ESPN responded with this message:
I was clear in what I provided.
This was not about his name being offensive and that is a lie.
Thank you and good luck.
ESPN has yet to respond to two more questions from TheDC about whether or not Ley could potentially be pulled.
The organization was asked multiple times about whether or not it had plans to deal with Ley sharing a name with a Nazi, and at no point would ESPN acknowledge the question with a simple yes or no answer.
The sports network only denied the initial report.