ESPN has pulled a sportscaster named Robert Lee from a UVA game over his name
ESPN has pulled an Asian-American sportscaster named Robert Lee from assignment to a University of Virginia football game because his name is similar to the Confederate general’s.
Lee was slated to call UVA’s home opener in Charlottesville, Virginia against William and Mary on September 2, but has been transferred to cover Youngstown State at Pittsburgh, an ESPN official told DailyMail.com.
Lee’s name is similar to Confederate general Robert E. Lee, a monument to whom was at the center of a rally last week that devolved into violent clashes between white nationalists and antifa, leaving one woman dead.
‘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,’ ESPN said in a statement.
Robert Lee is seen calling a college basketball game in November with analyst Brooke Weisbrod. ESPN pulled Lee from a UVA game in September over concerns about his name
The planned removal of this statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee sparked the rally in Charlottesville last week that shocked the nation
‘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,’ the statement continued.
The reassignment and ESPN’s rationale for it were first reported by Outkick The Coverage.
Robert Lee has been a professional sportscaster since 1999, according to his resume.
He joined ESPNU last year as a play-by-play announcer for college football and basketball games.
Lee did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Robert Lee (left) has been a professional sportscaster since 1999, according to his resume
News of the switch, which seemed at first like a satirical riff on current events, came amid massive national controversy over the fate of Confederate monuments, with a special focus on Robert E. Lee.
The University of Texas removed four Confederate monuments, including one of Robert E. Lee, under cover of darkness early Monday.
Duke University did the same to a stone statue of the Confederate general, after vandals defaced it in the entryway to the school chapel in Durham, North Carolina.
Other vandals have taken matters into their own hands, defacing monuments in several states.
The statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville will be covered with black fabric to mourn the death of Heather Heyer, the city council voted on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old woman was killed when a car slammed into a group of people protesting a white nationalist rally in the city.