Rather than have an announcer named Robert Lee broadcast the University of Virginia’s first football game of the season next month, ESPN has switched Lee’s schedule so that he will instead call the Youngstown State/University of Pittsburgh game. The game Lee was pulled from, William and Mary at UVA, will take place on Sept. 2 in Charlottesville, the site of a Unite the Right march by white nationalists and neo-Nazis that led to violence and ended with the death of a counter-protester. ESPN made a statement saying that this move was made to protect the broadcaster, who is Asian-American, from being the butt of any jokes, due to the “coincidence of his name.”
However, conservative news outlets immediately cried foul. Already angry that ESPN is deliberately moving to be more diverse and inclusive, these outlets apparently thought the sports network could only be doing this to be politically correct. The website that broke the story, Outkick the Coverage, claimed the network made the move to “avoid offending idiots,” while Fox News called it “pathetic.”
The reality, of course, is that ESPN really was just trying to protect its broadcaster, as this email from an ESPN exec states:
It’s doubtful this will make much of a difference to those heaping scorn on the network, though, as they’ll seize any chance to attack any political correctness they think they see.