Robert Lee is an announcer for ESPN. He’s also Asian-American. So what, right? Mr. Lee was scheduled to cover the season opener for the University of Virginia’s football team as they take on William & Mary. The brain trust at ESPN was afraid that people would connect Robert Lee, the announcer, with Civil War General Robert E. Lee, and make a bunch of stupid jokes about it. So, they have taken him off the broadcast. In case you don’t know this, UVA is in Charlottesville.
As cities throughout the nation attempt to dismantle or hide Civil War monuments that were originally erected in defiance of Jim Crow and Civil Rights laws, conservatives are in a massive whining collective over political correctness.
For starters, this is not about political correctness. Political correctness isn’t so much about politics as it is about not being a jerk. It is considerate not to tell racist jokes or call your left-wing friends “libtard.” ESPN wasn’t being PC by removing Lee from the broadcast. They were being corporate scaredy cats. Dealing with newspapers on a daily basis, I’m very familiar with companies being afraid of any negative backlash. They often believe the best way to avoid criticism is by not saying anything at all. ESPN wasn’t practicing liberalism as much as they’re practicing caution…and to a fault, I might add.
My first thought about this stupid little controversy was, “who’s gonna notice and make the connection from Robert Lee to Robert E. Lee?” My second thought was, “it’s UVA vs. William & Mary. No one’s even going to watch that game.”
I don’t think many people would really make the connection. Most people probably don’t realize that Joey and Chandler on Friends are played by two actors both named “Matt.” Though I must confess, when I was a child I thought Jerry Lewis and Jerry Lee Lewis was the same person. I believed an annoying comedian was also a rockabilly pedophile. Today, you can be forgiven if you confuse Seth Rogen with Jonah Hill or Michael Cera with Jesse Eisenberg. Seriously, we don’t need all four of those actors. But, I digress.
On top of all that, who in the world would make stupid idiotic jokes about it? This is where ESPN might have a point. Have you seen Breitbart? Have you seen the memes your stupid conservative friends pass off as humor on Facebook? One of my conservative colleagues started making the connection to Brenda Lee, the legendary country singer. Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk, hyuk. That’s just golden material right there.
ESPN asked Lee if he wanted to switch. They were looking out for him and he agreed. Honestly, nobody would have noticed. You probably have never heard of Mr. Lee and had zero intentions of watching that football game as it’s not Alabama vs. LSU. The irony here is that while ESPN was trying to avoid a hoopla, they instead created one.
We would never have heard of this issue if it wasn’t leaked to Clay Travis (don’t confuse us Clays), a conservative sports guy I never heard of before who works for Outkick The Coverage, a program I never heard of before. According to what I read at USA Today (I’m not giving links to that paper because they won’t publish cartoons that’s not sold by one of my competitors), Travis likes to attack ESPN…a lot. He attacks them for liberal bias which is something I’ve never really detected from the network. Which side do liberals pick when the Yankees play the Red Sox? I mean, I’m a Chicago Cubs fan despite the owners of that team supporting Donald Trump. And, I have never met a Dallas Cowboys fan who likes Jerry Jones.
The main reason this has become a story is that conservatives love to play the victim. Somehow moving Lee the announcer from the UVA game to another is an attack on hypersenstive conservatives. Mr. Travis got a coveted guest spot on Tucker Carlson’s News For Assholes program at Fox News to bitch about it.
The best part about this was all the jokes on Twitter. Some asked if there was a Civil War general named “Joe Buck,” in hopes of having him removed from calling games. Of course, that joke really only works if you don’t think about it. Joe Buck would have to be calling every game from a city with a Civil War monument that shared his name where a race riot had recently occurred. See? I overthought it. None of my friends will tell me jokes anymore. It’s sad.
While ESPN was trying to protect Mr. Lee and his career from stupid people, Mr. Travis decided he didn’t care and just shat all over it. Aren’t there daily sports stories to talk about? Cleveland and Boston just made a huge trade in the NBA and last night, a Dodger’s pitcher pitched nine no-hit innings just to lose the game in the tenth inning. But hey, let’s talk about the Lee guy, Mr. Travis. While you’re at it, change your first name. I really don’t wanna be confused with you. I don’t want to see what freaky fetish shit you get in the mail.
This entire ordeal should be an example to corporate America that being chicken shits can get you shit on.
By the way, I have praised Charlottesville here before. In addition to being a very cool little city, it’s also a great place to watch a football game. The Center for Politics at UVA has had me down as a speaker several times, and once they gave me tickets to a UVA game. It was a great atmosphere despite it being a crappy game. UVA lost to Duke. Do you know how bad your team must be to lose to Duke in football? Really, really bad.
On another note: You should subscribe to the Center For Politics’ weekly email. It’s awesome if you’re a political geek who gets into the nuts and bolts of politics. It’s very wonkish and analytical. Smart people produce it.
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