ESPN pulls Asian-American football announcer with name similar to Robert E. Lee from Virginia game

Posted at 8:44 PM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 01:14:58-04

In the wake of the violent white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12, ESPN has decided to pull a college football announcer with a name similar to Confederate General Robert E. Lee from an upcoming University of Virginia football game.

Robert Lee, a sportscaster for ESPNU who is of Asian descent, was scheduled to call Virginia's home game vs. William & Mary on Sept. 2. But ESPN re-assigned Lee following the events at Charlottesville, where the university is located.

The story was broken by Outkick the Coverage writer and reporter Clay Travis on Tuesday.

"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," ESPN said in a statement Tuesday. "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."

Travis said he spoke with a senior employee at ESPN who noted college football commentary assignments are frequently switched and that the decision was not mandated by the company.