Posted by Curt on 23 August, 2017 at 10:59 am. 2 comments already!


Ed Krayewski:

ESPN has pulled announcer Robert Lee from doing the play-by-play at the University of Virginia’s football home opener in Charlottesville this weekend. The channel says it made this decision while “the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name.”

“In that moment it felt right to all parties,” ESPN said in a statement. “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.” The outlet claims that the decision was mutual, and a network executive later commented that Lee could be “subjected to memes and jokes and who knows what else.” The executive insists there were no “politically correct efforts” or race issues. “Just trying to be supportive of a young guy who felt it best to avoid the potential zoo,” the executive wrote.

This ought to be a turning point in the debate over “PC culture.” It raises the important question of how much it is the perception of potential outrage rather than the outrage itself that drives these disputes. Would there really have been enough anger over Lee announcing the UVa game to make removing him the more “politically correct” option?

Sure, there may have been some harmless jokes about his name, but so what? The ESPN executive said he was worried about memes, but ESPN loves memes and understands how trafficking in them can increase exposure and name recognition.

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