WASHINGTON – How crazy has PC sensitivity gotten at sports network ESPN?
ESPN pulled one of its announcers from calling a University of Virginia football game because his name is Robert Lee, thinking that the appellation he shares with Confederate General Robert E. Lee might be offensive in the wake of events in Charlottesville Aug. 12, in which left-wing demonstrators clashed with white supremacists over a plan to remove a Confederate war memorial.
Lee, an Asian-American sportscaster who started with the network in 2016, was moved to a different game “simply because of the coincidence of his name,” ESPN said, referencing the Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
The violence in Charlottesville resulted in the death of one woman and injuries to more than a dozen others.
ESPN has been criticized recently for toeing the line of political correctness beyond even the major news networks, which some observers believe is responsible, in part, for plunging ratings.
This is ESPN’s official statement on the matter: “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 notes that assignments are switched all the time.
Critics of ESPN have taken to calling the network MS-ESPN, mocking it as the sports equivalent of uber-left MSNBC.
The fact that ESPN executives apparently thought the switch based on the announcer’s name wouldn’t be a big deal, illustrates to some how out of touch they are with the network’s base audience of sports fans.