ESPN is known for making terrible decisions, from apology tours for rapist athletes, to hyping a guy who is mediocre at two sports because he’s a Christian, to talking about ball inflation for a year because they don’t want to cover hockey. But like all great innovators, ESPN has found a way to top itself.
It was announced late last night, under the cover of darkness, that announcer Robert Lee would be removed from calling the University of Virginia football team’s home opener. The supposed reasoning behind it is that Lee’s name is too similar to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, whose statue white supremacistsneo-Nazisthe KKK a group of free speech enthusiasts (who happened to all be angry white dudes but are surely fine people) held a deadly rally for in Charlottesville earlier this month. Robert E. Lee, of course, fought a war over free speech.
Broadcaster Robert Lee, however, isn’t the same person. As far as we know, they are in no way related, either. Finally, both the white supremacists and the people they want murdered en masse can agree on an issue.
The early 1950s were an odd time for America. Behind every poodle skirt and duck butt haircut was someone grappling with integration, becoming the world’s police in Korea and how many times and places we can mention god on money and buildings.
The decisions we made on those very topics shaped the world we live in today. We’re still policing the world; we’ve integrated some places in society (prisons) better than others (ivy league schools); and god is in everyone’s pocket, but it’s still apparently never enough for the very religious. Also, we now have to figure out what to do with Confederate-themed stained glass windows in the National Cathedral.
Yes, while coming to terms with the idea that maybe black people don’t make water fountains taste funny, a lot of white people thought it was very important that we don’t forget about the Confederacy. And so, starting in the ’50s and continuing through today, we put up a lot of equal time monuments to people who fought for slavery on public land. Including a bunch of cheesy stained glass windows commemorating the life and times of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in a place dedicated to our nation coming together to pray.
For now, the windows will stay, because you can’t remove a Confederate monument from a church without risking a cross-burning. But, the Confederate flags in the windows will be removed.
You know, because it’s important that future worshipers learn the stations of Bobby Lee’s life as opposed to that of someone who preached loving your enemies and maybe not treating anyone less because of what they look like or where they’re from.
Mr. President, members of Congress, please heed my words, today of all days.
It was 150 years ago today that the largest battle ever on North American soil first began. Mostly by accident, the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia bumped into each other on the outskirts of a Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg. What occurred over the next four days became one of the bloodiest days in American history.
The Battle of Gettysburg is known today as the turning point in the Civil War. Many historians point to it as the beginning of the end of the war. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s hopes of a victory in the North were forever dashed. The North became more confident in its troops’ ability to fight. Today, it’s a celebrated battle in literature, television and even movies.
On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter, starting a war that would end three days earlier in 1865 at Appomattox Court House.
Because of both sides’ time travel technology, it would be the bloodiest American war until an unfortunate Red Cross “water balloon” fight last weekend in the Bed Bath & Beyond parking lot. (Sorry, Haiti. Maybe you can transfuse next week.)