ESPN announcer Robert Lee pulled off Virginia game
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ESPN announcer Robert Lee pulled off Virginia game

Following Charlottesville violence over efforts to remove Robert E. Lee statue, sports network says need for move is 'a shame'

In this Oct. 29, 2016, file photo, Louisville lines up for a play against Virginia during an NCAA college football game in Charlottesville, Virginia. (AP Photo/Ryan M. Kelly, File)
In this Oct. 29, 2016, file photo, Louisville lines up for a play against Virginia during an NCAA college football game in Charlottesville, Virginia. (AP Photo/Ryan M. Kelly, File)

BRISTOL, Connecticut — ESPN broadcaster Robert Lee will not work the University of Virginia’s football season opener game because of recent violence in Charlottesville sparked by the decision to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

A spokeswoman for ESPN says Lee has been moved to Youngstown State’s game at Pittsburgh on the ACC Network on September 2. The network says the decision was made “as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name.”

Plans to remove a statue of Lee led to a protest in Charlottesville earlier this month that attracted what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade. Violent clashes erupted between a large gathering of white nationalists and hundreds of counter protesters.

ESPN says the decision to put Lee on another game was made “collectively.” It also says it’s “a shame that this is even a topic of conversation.”

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