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Robert Lee: No, not that one

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

The debate over removing everything from our culture that can be linked to the Confederacy has reached a new ridiculousness.

In a move designed to avoid controversy, supposedly approved by the subject, announcer Robert Lee was switched off the University of Virginia football game this weekend because of his name, similar to the military leader of the Confederacy. The university is in Charlottesville, site of recent clashes between demonstrators. Instead, he’ll do the ESPN game in Pittsburgh.

Lee’s nickname is The General, but he has no link to the Confederate leader.

Lee is Asian-American. He has been broadcasting sports for years, including home games for Siena College.

The fact that anyone would even remotely consider making this move borders on the unbelievable. In fact, we doubt that had not it been done, there would have been no issues at all.

As of this writing, we can’t find any indication that Lee has given any interview. But rest assured, the Pitt game, currently listed for ESPN3, will have tremendous ratings.

The career of anyone not affiliated with the political movement should not be affected by it, especially since he had no control over his name.

ESPN has complained that the issue was raised by people wanting to embarrass it. We say, good for those people. The Disney-owned network should be embarrassed for inserting politics into something as simple as football broadcast assignments.

One prominent broadcaster on the network is Bob Ley, pronounced Lee. His nickname is said to be The General. Will ESPN drop him from his popular shows, E-60 and Outside the Lines? Probably not. After all that would be ridiculous. But then again ...