To the general merriment of the interwebs, ESPN made the insane decision on Tuesday to remove college football announcer Robert Lee from covering a game at University of Virginia. ESPN released this statement from Appomattox Courthouse:
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. 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.
An ESPN executive added to New York Magazine’s Yashar Ali:
This is totally bats*** loony, of course — it’s the equivalent of the Oregon school board voting to remove the name “Lynch” from buildings because of lynching throughout American history (Loretta Lynch and Marshawn Lynch must be aggravated).
But more importantly, it’s just another indicator why ESPN is losing viewers. I’ve been on the ESPN-is-a-Leftist-propaganda-network beat for years. As a onetime avid viewer of the network — as a kid, I’d get up at 6 a.m. to watch the highlights on SportsCenter — I’ve been thoroughly disappointed by the network’s turn toward Leftist politics. Jim Brady, the public editor for the network, admitted a few months back, “Internally, there’s a feeling among many staffers — both liberal and conservative — that the company’s perceived move leftward has had a stifling effect on discourse inside the company and has affected its public-facing product. Consumers have sensed that same leftward movement, alienating some.”
That’s obviously true. ESPN has spent the last several years touting Caitlyn Jenner, who hasn’t been athletically relevant since before I was born; pushing Black Lives Matter; gushing over Colin Kaepernick and giving airtime to commentators suggesting that the National Anthem be thrown overboard at games; firing Curt Schilling for comparing ISIS to Nazis and Mike Ditka for not supporting Barack Obama. Every program has become MSNBC with footballs.
It’s no surprise that the stupidity of politically programming a sports network has now infused the network to such an extent that they won’t even have an Asian reporter named Lee report a game at University of Virginia. They wouldn’t want to offend the snowflakes who watch their programming, since conservatives aren’t watching anymore. But they’ve ended up demonstrating that they’re a politicized joke. And that will hurt them far more than the ubiquity of online highlight reels from baseball games.