Still reeling from its fantasy football “slave” auction fumble a week ago, ESPN just delivered an encore performance. The sports news network has pulled Asian-American announcer Robert Lee from a game this weekend because his name is the same as a Civil War general, Robert E. Lee. Yes, seriously.
The Washington Examiner reports Lee was scheduled to call an upcoming University of Virginia football game. ESPN abruptly packed him off to cover the Youngstown State game at Pittsburgh, instead, explaining,
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 late Tuesday night.
Who calls play by play wasn’t a political issue until ESPN made it so. And coincidence is a fake excuse.
University of Virginia is located in Charlottesville, VA., the site of deadly rioting between a rival left-wing hate groups Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists and Antifa.
ESPN didn’t want a guy named “Robert Lee” appearing in connection with Charlottesville. I guess they think viewers are so stupid as to confuse an Asian-American announcer with a 200 year-old dead white man.
Within hours social media began roasting ESPN.
The name Robert Lee is trending on Twitter along with a hashtag #FreeRobertLee.
In light of the ESPN Robert Lee fiasco, can we try to find a confederate general named Joe Buck?
— Dennis Walker (@DennisWalkerJr) August 23, 2017
@espn did y'all really pull an Asian dude off a calling a game bc his name is Robert Lee? If so I hate y'all even more
— Haney (@andyintenn) August 22, 2017
So, let’s review. It’s PC to discriminate against an employee based on his ethnicity to avoid the semblance of racism. Symbolism over substance.
Pass the popcorn.
Updated to correct the location of the University of Virginia.