Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) joined many conservative voices early Thursday morning, slamming ESPN for what he described as “idiocy.”
Larsen’s tweet came in response to ESPN announcing earlier this week that it switched a radio announcer from calling the play by play at the Sept. 2 football game between the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary “because of the coincidence of his name.”
The announcer’s name is Robert Lee, the same name as that of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The game is scheduled to take place on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, just weeks after violent clashes broke out between white supremacist protesters and anti-fascist counterprotesters. White supremacists were protesting Charlottesville city leaders’ plan to remove a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Heather Heyer, 32, died as a result of the violence. Two Virginia State Police officers were also killed in a helicopter crash while responding.
In a statement released Tuesday, an ESPN spokesman explained the company’s reasoning for reassigning Lee to call another game in Pittsburgh:
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.
The decision prompted a wave of criticism in the conservative blogosphere. More liberal leaning outlets, like MSNBC, also mocked the move.
On Thursday, one Democratic lawmaker joined in on the criticism. In an early morning tweet Larsen called ESPN’s move “idiocy.”
“If this isn’t the same Lee that led the Confederate Army, ESPN needs to reverse this idiocy,” Larsen tweeted.
If this isn’t the same Lee that led the Confederate Army, ESPN needs to reverse this idiocy https://t.co/Cv2gdKQZLs
— Rep. Rick Larsen (@RepRickLarsen) August 23, 2017
(H/T: Daily Caller)