ESPN Pulls Broadcaster From Virginia Game Because His Name Is Robert Lee

The sports network said the move had nothing to do with "politically correct efforts."

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.