ESPN broadcaster Robert Lee taken off call for Virginia opener because of name, violence

ESPN broadcaster Robert Lee will no longer call the University of Virginia's season opener in Charlottesville because of the recent violence and protests sparked by the decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

The Charlottesville City Council voted to remove the city's statue of Robert E. Lee before protests and the white nationalist "Unite the Right" event took place almost two weeks ago.

The removal of the statue is at a standstill because of a 1998 Virginia law that prohibits local governments from removing or damaging war monuments. 

An ESPN spokeswoman said instead of Virginia’s opener, Lee the broadcaster will call Pittsburgh’s home opener against Youngstown State on the ACC Network on Sept. 2. ESPN said the decision to reassign Lee was “a shame that this is even a topic of conversation,” according to the Associated Press.  

ESPN also told the AP the decision to remove Lee from the Virginia call was made “collectively” as the events and violence in Charlottesville unfolded.

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