ESPN Moved Announcer Robert Lee Off The Broadcast Of The Virginia-William & Mary Game For A Reason You Can Probably Figure Out
LBS- ESPN confirmed on Tuesday night that they moved an announcer named Robert Lee off the Virginia-William & Mary football game on Sept. 2.
“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 shared with Larry Brown Sports.
Trust me, I'm well aware of how ridiculous it seems that a multinational corporation reconfigured their broadcast lineup to avoid one of their employees being thrust into a polarizing, race-based regional debacle because he's the unintentional namesake of a disgraced confederate general that's been dead for damn near 150 years. It's not lost on me how absurd it is that one of these guys is a posthumously affecting the livelihood of the other...
Unfortunately, the only thing that it more absurd than that is the fact that coincidental reminders that white supremacy is apparently still a relevant ideal outside the walls of particular college football stadiums are even possible in the year 2017. I'm not one of those "stick to sports" people, but - for the sake of almost everyone involved - I think I can understand ESPN wanting to create a clear and distinct separation between college football and neo-nazi-related irony.
Of course you'd have to an overly sensitive asshole to find yourself offended by the fact that there are living, breathing Robert Lee's that didn't fight for the right to own black people in every city in America. However, let's consider that no one on the planet would give a shit who calls the Virginia-William & Mary game on ESPN3 otherwise. When you look at it that way, I think even the only truly affected party would agree that it's not in his best interest to be on the ass end of internet jokes (that have a longer shelf life than "this is why Trump got elected!" outrage, mind you) due to a random association with the some guy that probably would have supported putting his great-grandparents in internment camps.
I understand why the Clay Travis' of the world would take this opportunity to run around calling everyone that has even the remnants of a Barack Obama sticker on their bumper a "snowflake" while trying to banish them to their safe space, but this isn't about people being too easily offended. This is about making professional life easier for a young, upstart announcer - whose parents probably didn't major in American history - by having him work in a state that didn't just host city-wide civil disobedience over a statue bearing his name.
The only mistake ESPN made is letting this news get out, and thus adding fuel to the fire on the tiki torches that the alt-right uses to protest that certain aspects of society - including sports entertainment - lean too far left.