ESPN President Issues Statement Clarifying Decision to Remove Robert Lee from Virginia Game

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People have very strong opinions about ESPN’s decision to remove broadcaster Robert Lee from the upcoming football game between Virginia and William & Mary. The network explained that it was just a simple personnel move designed to avoid a messy political situation, but a lot of folks think it’s another case of political correctness run amok.

On Wednesday, ESPN president John Skipper issued a personal statement to employees in an attempt to clarify the issue further. In the statement, Skipper insists the decision was not made because they thought people would be offended by Robert Lee’s name. Rather, they were concerned that Lee might be the target of harassment or online trolling.

Take a look:

Given the amount of media attention being generated by one of the countless, routine decisions our local production teams make every day, I wanted to make sure you have the facts. There was never any concern – by anyone, at any level – that Robert Lee’s name would offend anyone watching the Charlottesville game.

Among our Charlotte production staff there was a question as to whether – in these divisive times – Robert’s assignment might create a distraction, or even worse, expose him to social hectoring and trolling. Since Robert was their primary concern, they consulted with him directly. He expressed some personal trepidation about the assignment and, when offered the chance to do the Youngstown State/Pitt game instead, opted for that game – in part because he lives in Albany and would be able to get home to his family on Saturday evening.

I’m disappointed that the good intentions of our Charlotte colleagues have been intentionally hijacked by someone with a personal agenda, and sincerely appreciate Robert’s personal input and professionalism throughout this episode.

Can everybody just chill out now? Or are we going to find another reason to be outraged here?

Hat Tip – [theScore]

Tags: college football, espn, politics, racism, Robert Lee,