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In Defense Of ESPN’s Robert Lee Decision

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espn defense valid

Political correctness on college campuses is one of the most infuriating topics to cover. It has now spilled over into the real world to where you’re either bitching about toppling a 100-year-old statue just so you can get some retweets or you’ve gone extreme on the other side and you walk through the streets of Charlottesville shouting racist stuff with cargo pants on. Political correctness can be a disease, yet somehow I find myself defending ESPN today.

The University of Virginia’s decision to take down a statue of Confederate War Gen. Robert E. Lee and the subsequent white nationalist protests and counter-protests have led ESPN to reshuffle its play-by-play lineup. ESPN moved play-by-play announcer Robert Lee, an Asian-American, from the UVA home opener to the Youngstown versus Pitt game simply because he shares the same name.

“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 to The Washington Post. “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.”

The statement could’ve — and probably should’ve — continued on with what I imagine that phone convo or email exchange was like.

“Hey Rob. It’s [ESPN exec]. This shit in Charlottesville is pretty crazy and dumb, right? Did you notice you have the same name as that stupid statue they’re tearing down? Yeah, me neither. Honestly, I don’t really feel like dealing with this SJW shit and I’m sure you don’t either. You just wanna switch games? We’ll toss in a nicer hotel or something. Ight, sweet. Much love.”

Robert Lee isn’t exactly a Brent Musberger-level celebrity. Sure, being an ESPN broadcaster is cool, but you’re not going to stop in your tracks when he pops up on your TV. You likely wouldn’t know his name when you look at the list of broadcasters. Maybe down the road in his career, but not now. That’s why ESPN’s decision to have him swap games seemed incredibly minor.

And do you really think he was upset about it? Both matchups are the first games of the seasons for their respective schools, both of which should blow the other opponent out of the water. Considering SJWs nearly take up arms every time the cafeteria serves tacos or someone dare wear a Trump hat, avoiding a situation where the unfortunate name “Robert Lee” is dangling from a press credential seems like a win for all parties involved.

ESPN has a decently long history of leaning liberal and toeing that line of political correctness, while Fox Sports Radio’s/Outkick The Coverage’s Clay Travis, well… doesn’t. Travis is usually the one right there to call ESPN on its shit, and was the first to do so in this case. I read a lot of Travis pieces and find so many good points in them, this one included. And while I side with ESPN in this issue, I also don’t see an issue with Travis’ reporting. This was a dumb move and deserved to be mocked to a degree. ESPN shouldn’t have had to swap Lee, but it did. I fully believe the move wasn’t politically motivated, though. The network just wanted to avoid a potential headache at the hands of SJWs. Have you ever tried to reason with SJWs? It’s impossible. The only thing ESPN did wrong here was thinking it could quietly make the switch. Whoops.

Think about it — with this move, Lee 1) Doesn’t have to walk into a lion’s den of internet memes and SJW Twitter trolls, 2) Doesn’t have to go to visit a no-fun college town on edge, 3) Gets to have his name plastered on every headline across America in a positive way. Well done, ESPN. This is as much of a win for him as it is for you.

Now can we talk about pulling Stephen A. from everything ever?

[via The Washington Post]

Image via Shutterstock

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El Taco

Either a war hero or war criminal depending on how you look at it

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