A New York Times reporter called ESPN’s decision to pull an Asian announcer from covering a game at the University of Virginia a “gift to the right” in a Wednesday tweet.
“ESPN yanks an Asian-American named Robert Lee from calling UVa opener, hands the right a gift on PC culture fight,” Jonathan Martin, The NYT’s national political correspondent, tweeted in response to a statement from ESPN on the matter.
ESPN decided to not allow Robert Lee, the Asian-American ESPN announcer, cover the football game at UVA Sept. 2 because he shares the same name as Robert E. Lee, a Confederate war hero. ESPN cited concerns that their viewers would be offended if Lee covered the game.
People were quick to make fun of ESPN’s decision, calling it “dumb and ridiculous.”
“Every time I think MSESPN can’t get dumber & more ridiculous, they get dumber and more ridiculous. Too funny,” Clay Travis, a sports journalist, said on Twitter. “So just to clarify, Robert Lee, Asian play by play man, & Robert E. Lee, Confederate General, are different people.”
“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 said in a statement.
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