WASHINGTON — Violent protests in Charlottesville, Va. over Confederate statues are having unexpected consequences, as ESPN has reassigned announcer Robert Lee from its University of Virginia vs. William and Mary football broadcast on Sept. 2.
Lee, not to be confused with longtime ESPN host Bob Ley or Confederate General Robert E. Lee, is a broadcaster of 20 years who is of Asian-American descent. He is in his second season working for ESPN, having called both football and basketball games on the schedule last season.
- Torch-Wielding White Nationalists March in Charlottesville
- Virginia Governor Encourages Removal of Statues
Even though Lee is unlikely to be confused for the Confederate general, who died in 1870, ESPN attributed the move to it feeling “right for all parties.” Here is the statement the network released confirming the move:
“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.”
According to Outkick the Coverage, which originally reported the story, fellow announcer Dave Weekley will take over the Virginia-W&M game, and Lee will now call a game at Youngstown State.