Robert E Lee was an American commanding general in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War.

Asian American ESPN sports broadcaster Robert Lee has been pulled from an upcoming game because he shares a name with a Confederate general.

The Washington Post reports that Lee was due to feature on the University of Virginia’s home opening match against William and Mary on 2 September. However, the sportscaster was pulled due to his name.

“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,” Derek Volner, an ESPN spokesman, told The Washington Post in an emailed statement.

“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,” he added.

It is unclear whether the network made the decision on their own accord or had responded to external pressure.

Lee has been working as a sportscaster for 20 years and is bilingual, speaking Mandarin.

Robert E Lee was an commanding general of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until 1865, when he surrendered.

Confederate supporters comprised of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan violently clashed with protesters in Charlottesville earlier this months due to the planned removal of a Robert E Lee statue. Protester Heather Heyer was killed and 19 others were injured after a neo-Nazi supporter drove his car into a crowd.

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville earlier this month during protests of the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

Although he has not made a public statement, Sports Illustrated writer Richard Deitsch Tweeted that Lee “was more comfortable not doing this assignment.”

Others on Twitter took the opportunity to ridicule other sportscasters as well as ESPN’s decision. “I wish Skip Bayless was named Robert Lee while he was at ESPN,” Sopan Deb wrote.

“From 1862 until his surrender in 1865, ESPN college football announcer Robert Lee commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia,” one user mocked.

Dana Loesch highlighted the irony of standing against racism by preventing an Asian American from his work. “Nothing takes a stand against racism better than banning an Asian guy from a tv job because his name is Robert Lee,” she wrote.

“Don’t tell ESPN about Lee Jeans, the official denim of confederate generals,” she joked in another Tweet.

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