ESPN has switched announcer Robert Lee off of its broadcast of the University of Virginia’s first football game of the season next month because of the coincidence of his name. Lee, who is Asian-American, shares a first and last name with the Confederate general whose statues have become a source of intense controversy in the United States.

ESPN said the announcer would not call the September 2 match-up against William and Mary in Charlottesville, Virginia where violence erupted during a march by white supremacists and neo-Nazis earlier this month, resulting in the death of a young woman.

ESPN said,

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.

CNN’s Brian Stelter commented,

By trying to avoid an embarrassing ordeal, ESPN has embarrassed itself.

Really? This guy's name is Robert Lee, NOT Robert E.Lee. If ESPN was trying to not offend anyone, they didn't succeed. For this to be an issue is far worse than any of us could have imagined. An American is an American, no matter your ethnicity or what '45' has to say

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