Twitter had a field day after news broke Tuesday that ESPN removed an announcer named Robert Lee from broadcasting an upcoming Virginia Cavalier football game because of the similarity of his name to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The story was broken by Outkick The Coverage's Clay Travis, who has coined the term "MSESPN" to suggest ESPN has a liberal slant, combining the news network and MSNBC. ESPN ultimately confirmed the seemingly unbelievable story, saying it collectively made the decision along with Lee as the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va. unfolded, because "in that moment it felt right to all parties."
ESPN's statement on Robert Lee no longer calling the game between #UVa and W&M pic.twitter.com/jxg2Oeed8g
— Eric Hobeck (@eric_hobeck) August 23, 2017
As Travis pointed out, Robert Lee the announcer is not in fact the deceased Civil War general, whose monument removal in Charlottesville spurred white supremacist protests and ultimately bloodshed earlier this month. Lee is Asian-American, not a general, and alive.
Twitter users responded with amusement, disbelief, and suggestions for announcers they wished shared names with Confederate generals so they would not call games.
Yo @ESPN, I think viewers will know the difference between Robert E Lee the confederate general and Robert Lee the football announcer. pic.twitter.com/sMO86DMGOl
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) August 23, 2017
ESPN pulls asian sportscaster off college football game because his name is Robert
Their gonads have shrunk to the size of english peas
— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) August 23, 2017
In light of the ESPN Robert Lee fiasco, can we try to find a confederate general named Joe Buck?
— Dennis Walker (@DennisWalkerJr) August 23, 2017
Say what u want about Trumps speech but ESPN Robert Lee story proves Trumps point about media, who pulled reporter out of pure HYSTERIA
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) August 23, 2017
Are we *sure* the ESPN thing about suspending an announcer named Robert Lee is true? It seems even too absurd for them...
— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) August 23, 2017
Don’t tell ESPN about Lee Jeans, the official denim of confederate generals.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) August 23, 2017
ESPN felt like they were trying to avoid stupid, unnecessary headlines because of the guy's name. But now here we are.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) August 23, 2017
ESPN yanks an Asian-American named Robert Lee from calling UVa opener, hands the right a gift on PC culture fight https://t.co/gFqjZHqRny
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) August 23, 2017
Not even Yale students would be this stupid (and they lose their minds over Halloween costumes) https://t.co/qr411adTRP
— David French (@DavidAFrench) August 23, 2017
Even ESPN's own Bob Ley mocked the network.
Rather worried my employee ID/pass may not admit me in the AM. Life, as scripted by @OnionSports.
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) August 23, 2017