ESPN has a play by play announcer named Robert Lee. Lee is of Asian descent. On September 2, he was slated to call the game between Virginia and William and Mary. ESPN decided to change his assignment due to safety concerns from recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
When it was first reported, it was due to safety concerns from the recent events. Later, as ESPN sought to clarify the story exploding on the internet, they said:
“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,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Essentially, ESPN was trying to prevent their play by play man from being subjected to ridicule because of his last name. Instead, the explanation from an internal email by ESPN executives, leaked to the media, only helped the internet respond:
Was this a smart move on ESPN’s part? I can partially understand the situation, if Mr. Lee was concerned and brought it to the attention of the executives. This might not have been a big deal had ESPN chosen to say, “We changed Mr. Lee’s assignment due to a schedule conflict ..” and not even mentioned Charlottesville.
Instead, ESPN not only verified the reasons for the change, they didn’t say who initiated the discussion, which is the same thing as saying, “Someone (a leftist most likely) in management thought this might not be a good idea if they knew his name was Robert Lee.”
So you think that people would have looked at the broadcaster, who is obviously of Asian descent, and equated him to the Confederate General, or even took offense because he happened to have the same name? How many social justice warriors actually watch football?
To put in perspective: The game is on the ACC network, and on ESPN3 meaning it would have been limited to those who wanted to watch Virginia football. Unless a lot of major city feminists and their humiliated male counterparts watch football, most of the audience would have not have cared.
Had someone tried to make the connection, it would have most likely died quickly. The response on social media following the story pretty much summed it up: “Dude, seriously?”
And yet, here we are and the memes are flying. Sometimes, I think ESPN forgets there is an internet, and some PR execs forget to turn on their brains. This is what happens when you cater to the leftists.