Ten days ago in Charlottesville, a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of leftist protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. A gang of neo-Nazis surrounded 20-year-old Dre Harris and took turns violently assaulting him. On the following Tuesday, Herbert Gilbert, an unarmed black man, was fatally shot by police in Thomasville, Georgia. Last weekend, black counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Boston were kettled by riot police and attacked with batons. On Sunday a 22-year-old Cleveland man was hospitalized after being beaten by an assailant shouting, “You don’t belong here. Go back to your own country.” At a rally Tuesday night in Phoenix, the president of the United States signaled his intent to pardon a sheriff convicted of overseeing a draconian racial-profiling regime while police fired tear gas at demonstrators outside.
These are the wages of bigotry and oppression. People are murdered, terrorized, deported, impoverished, disenfranchised, blackballed, extorted, poisoned, and in countless other ways made less free and less safe.
At some point in the last ten days or so, while many of the things above were happening or about to happen, a gaggle of dimwits at ESPN arrived at the decision—in the boring corporate way that boring corporations tend to arrive at decisions—that C-squad play-by-play guy Robert Lee would be reassigned from this Saturday’s UVA home opener “because of the coincidence of his name,” out of a desire, in the words of network president John Skipper, not to “create a distraction, or even worse, expose him to social hectoring and trolling.”
These are the wages of PC sensitivity. A guy was going to call a football game, and now he will call a different football game.