CHARLOTTESVILLE, Minn. - As first reported by Outkick the Coverage, ESPN is pulling a broadcaster off a Virginia Cavaliers college football game in Charlottesville because his name is Robert Lee.
Lee is an Asian broadcaster that calls multiple NCAA sports for ESPN.
ESPN has confirmed the move was made because the game will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia and the recent tragedies that have happened there as the result of a debate over Confederate statues.
To Mike Zipko, a public affairs consultant, owner of Zipko Strategy in St. Paul, ESPN's decision is a self inflicted wound.
“I would have advised them not to do this, if someone is going to complain, you have a message or two ready, you have a statement or something to send to people to respond to them,” said Zipko, “but accept the fact it’s almost impossible today to be in a situation where someone is not going to be upset or offended.”
Lee, himself, has not commented on the move publicly.
However, a spokesperson for ESPN said the company did not mandate that Lee change his assignment. It was reportedly a "collective decision."
Company says that Lee (a young broadcaster who works for ESPN3) was more comfortable not doing this assignment.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) August 23, 2017