News & Politics

ESPN Benches Asian Announcer Robert Lee Amidst Fears of... Oh, Who Knows Anymore?

Image via Twitter

Following Charlottesville, there’s been a concerted effort to erase anything and everything to do with the Confederacy. While I tend to disagree with the effort, I do kind of understand where they’re coming from. It’s dumb, but I understand it. However, a recent move by ESPN is one that will completely boggle my mind for the rest of my days.

Apparently, even being Asian doesn’t mean people won’t take you for being a white nationalist.

ESPN confirmed Tuesday night that it had decided to pull an announcer from calling a University of Virginia football game because his name is Robert Lee. This Robert Lee is Asian.

“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,” reads the ESPN statement posted at the popular Fox Sports college-football blog Outkick the Coverage.

“Did I mention that Robert Lee is Asian?” wrote disbelieving blogger Clay Travis, who first broke the story, citing “multiple Outkick fans inside ESPN.”

Mr. Lee had been scheduled to call the Cavaliers Sept. 2 game in Charlottesville against William and Mary.

Sweet dancing baby Einstein on a rocket-powered unicycle, really?

Even if you support removing statues dedicated to Confederate officers, the idea that an Asian guy who just happens to share a first and last name with one — neither of which are particularly uncommon — should be moved from a game is beyond ridiculous.

Yet this is what we get to deal with in this day and age. When everything causes outrage, people will trip all over themselves to create it. However, as Outkick the Coverage notes:

But, seriously, is there anything more pathetic than ESPN believing people would be offended by an Asian guy named Robert Lee sharing a name with Robert E. Lee and calling a football game? Aside from some hysterical photoshops and Internet memes which would make everyone with a functional brain laugh — Robert E. Lee pulling out all the stops to stay in Charlottesville now! — what was the big fear here? Does ESPN really believe people are this dumb or that having an Asian announcer named Robert Lee is too offensive for the average TV viewer to handle?

Yes, yes they do.

Absolutely pathetic.

Seriously, part of me is having a hard time believing this is real. Even ESPN (and I love how Clay Travis at Outkick calls them MSESPN. It makes me giggle), with their focus on social justice rather than sports, wouldn’t be this stupid, would they?

Then again, in this day and age, anything is possible.