Charlottesville: ESPN removes commentator from football coverage as his name is Robert Lee

Charlottesville: ESPN removes commentator from football coverage as his name is Robert Lee

Protests in Charlottesville were over a statue of Robert E Lee

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A commentator has been removed from coverage of the University of Virginia's football game by ESPN, due to him having the same name as Confederate General Robert E Lee.

A source told CNN that Robert Lee had been told to commentate on the Youngstown versus Pitt game instead, which takes place on the same day (September 2).

Protests were taking place in Charlottesville earlier this month over the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee, but violence erupted and a woman protesting against white supremacy was killed.

ESPN said the decision to change which match Lee commentated on was made collectively by executives "with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding."

It also said: "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 broadcaster believed by keeping Lee as the commentator in Virginia, headlines about the match could read "Robert Lee marches into Charlottesville."

But ESPN has been mocked on social media for the decision as many claim it was overreacting.

The editor of American magazine Commentary tweeted: "ESPN did this out of fear of the yowling mob. And is part of it now."

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