Pictured: The greatest sport played at the greatest time of the year. Also Pictured: A sport that ESPN is determined to ruin by any means necessary.
Last night, it was reported that ESPN would be switching out a reporter during a University of Virginia game because of… his name.
Robert Lee will, instead, be covering a different game. One not near Charlottesville, Virginia. Robert Lee, in case you did not know, is an Asian American reporter. No one is going to take him for a Confederate or a white nationalist. Yet, ESPN was really concerned that this would be an issue, so they pulled him.
A lot of people, including myself, did not believe it. We refused to believe it. Why would we believe it? It’s so ridiculous it’s beyond parody. An Asian American reporter is removed from an event because his name is the same as a Confederate general? No thank you, The Onion. I’m not buying this one.
But, it’s true.
For anyone – ANYONE – who said “No, you guys. ESPN’s leftward shift in social issues isn’t ruining their brand,” I present to you this entire @#$%show.
ESPN is, in many cases unwatchable. I refuse to watch their commentary shows, and their live events I usually leave on mute. I still like to watch sports, and I like talking about them from time to time, but I am damn sure not going to be preached to by many of the talking heads that are hired to go beyond the scope of athletic events in their commentary. They march ever onward, completely oblivious to the fact that it is damaging their brand.
But this? This prances merrily into the realm of the absurd. Someone decided an Asian guy with the name of Robert Lee would be insensitive to the people of Virginia. The brand be damned, we must now make sure that everyone is happy. Well, except for the athletes, half of whom will lose the game and the other half will have a victory in a game that is largely talked about because of ESPN’s staffing decisions.
That’s what really irritates me. ESPN is, like main of America’s mainstream reporters, likes to make itself as important as the story. “Hey look at how culturally sensitive we are! We’re removing an offensive name from a broadcast team! Look at us go!” If CNN’s Jim Acosta had a photographer who was named Jeff Davis, he’d proudly announce he was asking for a different guy. To give ESPN a little bit of frankly undeserved credit, at least they tried to hide it.
That’s what happened. You can try to reject it all you want, just like I did, but deep down… you know. You know this was always the next step. You know if anyone were to make this kind of delusional slippery-slope hypothetical a reality, it would be ESPN.
You know it, and I know it. Accept it, like I had to.
Once you do, a great weight will be lifted off of your shoulders. You’ll no longer be burdened with the fear that we’re fast approaching the looking glass. We’re through it now. There’s no need to worry anymore.