Sports is meant to be an escape. It’s a tough world out there, and the entertainment offered up by sporting events serves as an excellent distraction that can help you wind down and forget about life for a little while.
That’s part of what makes sports such big business. Live sports remains appointment viewing for many folks across the nation, and the escapism afforded by it is a big reason why.
By extension, sports and sports programming are a veritable cash cow. The major sports leagues charge a boatload of money for the rights to broadcast their games, and the networks make out like bandits when it’s time to sell the advertising for those events.
Why in the world would someone want to upset that apple cart?
That question has been swirling about for some time in regards to ESPN. While the network is still home to a vast assortment of live games, subscriber numbers are plummeting at an alarming rate.
Why? Cord-cutting is the easy answer, but there’s a lot more at play here.
ESPN insists on dipping its toes into the political waters as much as possible. Yes, a network that viewers were previously able to tune in and escape from their troubles for a bit has decided that they should completely ruin that experience.
What’s more, there’s no balance to ESPN’s laughable attempts at punditry, as the only viewpoint presented comes from a liberal perspective.
Independent Journal Review passes along one of the latest decisions from network brass that helps drive that point home.
ESPN has reportedly pulled an announcer from calling a University of Virginia football game so that his name, Robert Lee, wouldn’t offend viewers. It’s very similar to Robert E. Lee, you know.
To make the situation even more bizarre, Lee is actually of Asian descent.
Really? Does ESPN just automatically assume that all of its viewers are snowflakes that become verklempt outside of their safe spaces?
It appears so, and this highly questionable decision has been assailed from a number of sides.
The popular college football blog Outkick the Coverage broke the story:
Is this even real life anymore? This might even be worse than MSESPN apologizing for the fantasy football slave draft a couple of weeks ago. […]
But, seriously, is there anything more pathetic than ESPN believing people would be offended by an Asian guy named Robert Lee sharing a name with Robert E. Lee and calling a football game? Aside from some hysterical photoshops and Internet memes which would make everyone with a functional brain laugh — Robert E. Lee pulling out all the stops to stay in Charlottesville now! — what was the big fear here? Does ESPN really believe people are this dumb or that having an Asian announcer named Robert Lee is too offensive for the average TV viewer to handle?
Yes, yes they do.
As with most stories peddled by the mainstream press, this wouldn’t even be a thing if ESPN didn’t insist that it was.
Do they really think that a passionate supporter of UVA football – or their opponent for the day, for that matter – would suddenly make other plans because of the name of one of the announcers?
This is a staggeringly dense decision, but the network has attempted to spin its way through it.
ESPN reportedly issued the following statement to the blog:
We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name. In that moment it felt right to all parties. 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.
It’s getting denser in here by the minute. The network regrets that who calls the game has become an issue?
It became an issue because the network made it one! The fact that it ‘felt right to all parties’ really tells you all you need to know.
Apparently, the water coolers up in Bristol are filled with liberal Kool-Aid. How else can we explain how a network that was once a recognized leader in sports programming has gone into such a mesmerizing tailspin?
Similar to the mainstream media networks, ESPN is going to have a really rude wake up call one of these days. When you have completely alienated a large amount of the potential audience, advertisers aren’t too keen to pony up.
Streaming options become more attractive by the minute, as that seems to be the only way viewers can insure they won’t be beaten over the head with topics they’ve had their fill of.
Source: Independent Journal Review