The Point: What’s in a Name?

Is anywhere safe? For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Ahh. College football season is starting. Time to escape those headlines and enjoy some sports.

Well, nope, thanks to ESPN, which decided to pull its play by play guy from broadcasting the University of Virginia home opener. Why? Only because his name is Robert Lee, like the Confederate general at the center of the late unpleasantness in Charlottesville.

Of course, these Lees are not related. In fact, the broadcaster is of Chinese descent.

ESPN tried to cover their backsides with a statement that said “It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play-by-play for a football game has become an issue.”

But it’s only an issue because ESPN made it one. And making issues is what ESPN is doing more and more of these days—like when it gave former Olympian Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner its courage award for declaring himself a woman.

I think you should let ESPN know what you think. And maybe remind them that there are plenty of other games on plenty of other networks.


Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.

  • Tyler

    I absolutely love Breakpoint, and I listen to it everyday for encouragement and Biblical worldview guidance, but this is honestly yet another one of those “pick your battles” topics for me. ESPN did an obviously stupid thing here. They made a comparison where there really ought not be one, and it was dumb, BUT harmed no one except themselves. But when Christians raise a stink about these types of things, it makes us at best look nit- picky (because again, who does this REALLY hurt, other than ESPN), and at worst makes it look like Christians are closet white supremacists, or even worse, are blind to the fact that we get fussy when freedom of expression is threatened, most notably when it has to do with racism. That may be a bit over simplified, but I would say that the Christian response here really ought to have been say nothing at all. The case could be made that we’re becoming overly sensitive as a culture, and Mr. Lee was harmed by this, because he lost out on an opportunity to work because of the coincidence of his name. But Lee himself said that ESPN left it up to him, and he opted to work a different game. Again, this should never have mattered at all, but why do we as Christians seem to jump at the chance to criticize sensitivity to racism, albeit over-sensitivity to racism?