“Political correctness run amok:” ESPN pulls announcer from game

Maddie Boone, Opinions Co-Editor

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About a week ago, ESPN reported that it would be pulling one of their announcers, Robert Lee, from an upcoming game at the University of Virginia. This preemptive action was taken to avoid any issues regarding the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va. surrounding the removal of a monument of General Robert E. Lee. On the contrary, however, this led to quite an uproar in the press.  

Both the press and general public have had a field day commenting on this decision, calling it “political correctness run amok.” ESPN once again touched upon the liberal bias critique it has been receiving by removing an anchor for the “coincidence of his name.” This is not the first time ESPN has been called out for its perceived liberal bias.

According to Business Insider, after the company’s most recent round of layoffs, many jettisoned employees had blamed ESPN’s perceived attempt to push “conservative-minded viewers away and often dipping its toes into ‘politics.’” An ESPN employee quickly responded by saying that these liberal bias accusations are largely due to some being “bothered” by the increased diversity of the company both in those it employs and the viewpoints it shares. 

ESPN however, made sure to point out that their decision regarding Lee was not made to avoid offending viewers, but more so to avoid detracting from the game itself and potential harassment of the announcer. The sports media outlet stated that Lee was offered to announce another game and took the offer, making this choice reflective of not just ESPN’s actions but Lee’s personal decision as well.

In a hyper-polarized political environment, any choice made in the public eye can and will be seen as controversial. While this is an unfortunate circumstance, I would argue that this situation represents a company decision. In the tense political climate, it might be justified to make an announcer and a company feel more comfortable given the circumstances and proximity to the events of Charlottesville. I actually see this as ESPN trying to stay out of the monument debate.

The argument that this decision is indicative of an ESPN political slant may be a step too far because the reality is that bias is everywhere. Does that mean you should stop watching the news? Sports? Sitcoms? No!

Has it ever occurred to the public that, while bias is widespread, perhaps it has not worsened, and maybe more people are simply displeased with the state of affairs in America? Or maybe more people are upset with the hyper-controversial administration we have in place? It is always important to seek a range of sources for all information, but to dismiss one as wholly biased because some of its reporting may seem slightly off-center or counter to what you want to believe in is the best way to remain (and stay) uninformed.

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