ESPN pulls announcer Robert Lee from UVa football coverage
ESPN removed announcer Robert Lee from coverage of the University of Virginia’s opening football game “simply because of the coincidence of his name,” according to CNN.
Lee, an Asian-American, was pulled over his shared name with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in an attempt to avoid controversy, CNN reported.
Lee will instead cover the Youngstown State vs. Pittsburgh football game, which won’t be televised.
ESPN told CNN that the sports network “collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding.”
“In that moment it felt right to all parties,” ESPN said. “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 quickly faced criticism when news broke about its decision.
ESPN pulling announcer named “Robert Lee” from a UVa game isn’t “liberal.” It’s idiotic.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 23, 2017
If this @espn Robert Lee story is true and we’re a book I think the title would have to be: ‘pandering for dummies’
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) August 23, 2017
Confederate memorials have been removed in several cities after a violent rally organized by white supremacists in Charlottesville left one woman dead and at least a dozen injured. The rally was organized to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in the college town.