ESPN confirmed Tuesday it removed Asian-American announcer Robert Lee from a college football game in Charlottesville, Virginia, because he shares a name with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
It was a Charlottesville rally to preserve a statue of Lee that touched off violent protests involving white supremacists earlier this month. The fallout includes a bitter national debate about the fate of Confederate statues.
Here’s Lee on the right:
So, Lee, who was scheduled to cover the University of Virginia’s home game against William and Mary on Sept. 2, has been reassigned to a game in Pittsburgh.
Some outlets quickly criticized the move as political correctness to the extreme. But in a statement to HuffPost contributor Yashar Ali, the network said it had practical reasons for its action: fearing that its employee would be subject to an avalanche of memes, jokes and other unwelcome publicity.
Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Still, one well-known ESPN veteran with a similar name couldn’t resist a dig.