ESPN, “The Worldwide Leader in Sports”, has lost their cotton-pickin’ minds.
Robert Lee, play-by-play broadcaster for ESPN, was set to cover the William & Mary vs Virginia football game on September 2nd (being played in Charlottesville). Then someone killed someone else in Charlottesville VA, and ESPN decided that it was all connected close enough to the General Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, that Robert Lee should not cover that game for fear of internet association/mockery based on the similarity of names of the announcer and of the General of the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
Robert Lee is of Asian heritage. General Lee is not.
Robert Lee graduated from Syracuse. General Lee, from West Point.
Robert Lee calls about a dozen football battles a year for ESPN. General Lee commanded hundreds of battles throughout his 35+ year military career.
Robert Lee CANNOT be mistaken for General Lee. The Dukes of Hazzard’s 1969 Dodge Charger has a better shot of being mistaken for General Lee. Robert Lee has a better chance of being mistaken for Bruce Lee. Is ESPN going to limit Robert Lee from covering games at the University of Washington, because Bruce Lee is an alumnus? Doubtful. But because sanity is now dead, Robert Lee was pulled from the University of Virginia game. Crisis averted.
Except, it wasn’t. Now, the nation is mocking ESPN for their obviously failed attempt at avoiding being mocked for their decision to pull Lee from the game coverage. The memes are as rich as they come: Stan Lee? Confederate Army veteran (hey, he’s probably old enough). Spike Lee? Racist. Tommy Lee Jones? Parlayed his Confederate namesake into a successful Hollywood career. Sara Lee? Nobody doesn’t like racist cake. Lee jeans? Made by slaves. Eat too much Sara Lee and you have to buy bigger Lee jeans. IT’S A CONFEDERATE CONSPIRACY!!!
This author personally knows Caucasians with the last name Lee who have been discriminated against by Asians because they AREN’T Asian. Now, ESPN is creating a nationwide aura of discrimination over a name. Where does it end? Is ‘Robert’ allowed? The middle initial ‘E’? How about Jackson as a first or last name? Or the names of countless schools, roads, bridges, or towns with some variant of those names? Can we even build stone walls anymore without fear of being shunned from society or violent acts against us?
ESPN owes the nation an apology. The Worldwide Leader of Sports has become The Worldwide Laughingstock of Cable TV, with their only recourse to publicly apologize, and do some soul-searching regarding how they have slowly turned away from sports entertainment and into a platform for social justice warrior’ing. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” You used to be a good sports network, ESPN. Whatever you are doing now, you just suck at it.