ESPN moves announcer named Robert Lee off Virginia game
ESPN is going out of its way to try and avoid controversies related to the highly sensitive matter that occurred in Charlottesville two weeks ago. Accordingly, they switched the assignment for a play-by-play announcer because of his name.
ESPN confirmed on Tuesday night that they moved an announcer named Robert Lee off the Virginia-William & Mary football game on Sept. 2.
“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. In that moment it felt right to all parties. 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,” ESPN said in a statement shared with Larry Brown Sports.
LBS has been told that Lee will now broadcast the game between Pitt and Youngstown State on the same network.
On Aug. 11-12, a Unite the Right rally took place at the University of Virginia. The rally resulted in the death of three people — including two state troopers — and made headlines throughout the country for its controversial nature. Many of the rally participants were seen waving Nazi symbolism. The rally began over outrage from people upset about a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee being removed.
This is the second time in a week that ESPN has exercised great caution over a potential controversy. They also apologized for running a fantasy football auction that some felt resembled a slave auction.
Lee, a Syracuse grad and Albany resident, has been a sportscaster for over 20 years. According to his website, he has called Big South, AAC and Ohio Valley Conference games for ESPNU, as well as several college football games on ESPN3.
The story was first reported by Outkick the Coverage.