This week ESPN removed play-by-play broadcaster Robert Lee from calling a September 9th Virgina vs. William & Mary College football game. Did Lee violate a code of conduct? Was he inappropriate in another broadcast?
No. No, Lee was assigned to a different game because of his name – given to him at birth – was Robert Lee just like Confederate general Robert E. Lee. ESPN thought it would be best to pull Lee from the Virgina broadcast after the recent events in Charlottesville as more Americans than ever are crying out that Confederate statues/monuments are offensive and that they must be taken down at once.
Aren’t those the same people who say we need to give our children better education to learn from the past so that we don’t repeat it. Removing monuments that teach people about the past seems a bit hypocritical.
Let’s get back to the spineless network who caused Lee more harm than good during this ordeal. You see, not one person would have cared or would have said a word about Lee doing this game had they let him go ahead and call it.
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 24, 2017
The game is pretty meaningless. Yes, it’s opening night for both teams but in fairness, neither one of these teams are headed to a national championship…let alone the college football playoffs.
ESPN thought they were doing Lee a favor because they were saving him from being subject to ‘memes’ and other internet-based jokes. That was a real possibility but it would have been a small blip on the news radar. The network amplified that blip by one hundred when they decided to do this publicly as if they were saying ‘look at us, we’ll show you how politically correct we are’.
Just received this email from an ESPN executive re the Robert Lee controversy. pic.twitter.com/OuBORlWO9f
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) August 23, 2017
“There was never any concern — by anyone, at any level — that Robert Lee’s name would offend anyone watching the Charlottesville game,” ESPN’s president John Skipper said in the statement. “Among our Charlotte production staff, there was a question as to whether — in these divisive times — Robert’s assignment might create a distraction, or even worse, expose him to social hectoring and trolling.”
There is a fine line between being politically correct and being flat-out spineless.
Robert Lee, the broadcaster, will now have this story pinned to him for the rest of his life. He will forever be associated with the Confederate war general for the rest of his broadcasting career. His name alone wouldn’t have caused this controversy…ESPN’s gesture to be PC did this to him.
Former ESPN anchor Brit McHenry appeared on FOX News the other night and was not shocked by the network’s doing. “This isn’t the type of attention you want on the national scene,” McHenry told host Tucker Carlson.
“Obviously, we know who [Lee] is now, but now these pictures, once the 24-hour news cycle goes away, he’s gonna be associated with Robert E. Lee and they’re superimposed together.”
“Even your name given at birth or the possibility of a meme on the Internet is a reason to make a personnel change. I mean, if that’s what we’re doing here … everyone might be out of a job, especially in this industry.”
— The Moderate Man (@TheModerateMan) August 23, 2017
Think of this scenario through Lee’s eyes. As a play-by-play broadcaster, you want to stand out and create good brand recognition because they product you sell is your voice and character. Lee won’t be able to create a recognizable brand anymore because the only thing that will come to mind (now because of ESPN) is a general in the Confederate army.