Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee published a series of tweets on Wednesday after ESPN announced Robert Lee won’t call a football game in Charlottesville next month because of his name.
Huckabee said ESPN “turns itself into total joke – deserves to be ridiculed” – and he went on to post a series of tweets that troll the “politically correct” sports network and its sensitivity.
“ESPN will no longer air football games on TV as referees are dressed in black and white and that could be viewed as binary racism,” read one of Huckabee’s tweets.
He first tweeted: “ESPN will not use Dolly Parton songs as bumpers – might remind people of Dolly Madison, wife of slave-owner President James Madison.”
He went on: “ESPN will not broadcast games of any kind from Jackson, [Mississippi], for fear it might honor Stonewall or Andrew Jackson and trigger someone.”
Huckabee then sarcastically took issue with the Cotton Bowl: “ESPN will not [broadcast] Cotton Bowl for fear it will make people think about song ‘Dixie’ as opening line ‘I wish I was in the land of cotton.’ ”
He ended his series of tweets by re-defining the sports network: “ESPN now known as ‘Embarrassing Society of Politically-Correct Nutjobs.’ ”
“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,” ESPN said in a 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.”
Charlottesville most recently became the center of national and global media attention following the violent white nationalist rally there earlier this month. The rally ultimately resulted in the death of a 32-year-old woman when a car plowed into a group of counter-protestors on Water Street, as well as the death of two Virginia State Troopers who were patrolling the assembly in a helicopter.
Since the rally, many people have taken down or called for the remove of Confederate statues across the country. General Robert E. Lee commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War.
Robert Lee is a part-time ESPN employee who calls football and basketball games.
The UVA game is scheduled for September 2.