Robert Lee and Travel(l)er
Well, the football gods are apparently ready for some football, as unusually cool temperatures in the area are making it feel more like late September than late August for tonight’s High School football openers. Best wishes to all our area teams for a successful and safe season. And remember, “be true to your school!”
Starting next week, we’re going to change gears a bit with this weekly post, as Shenandoah University Football gets ready for it’s season opener on Labor weekend (Sept 2nd). We will basically be previewing the Hornet’s upcoming game, starting with a look at the Gallaudet contest. Can’t wait!
Now, on to today’s topic. We have now officially gone past “10” on the sensitivity meter. In the aftermath of the recent riots in Charlottesville, ESPN has done something completely ridiculous, in my opinion. The so-called “four letter network” has decided to pull one of their reporters from an upcoming UVA football game. The reporter’s name happens to be Robert Lee. Fearing that some would be offended by that name in light of current events in the Virginia town, ESPN made the decision to move Lee (who is Asian, by the way) to another game.
Are you kidding me?!? This move is a total overreaction by network honchos who are afraid of offending just one person. In the event you can still find a hard-copy phone book, I’m sure you will find lots of “Lee’s and Jackson’s” in every community. Are they to be shamed and shunned just because of their last name? Do we kick all the people named Sherman out of Atlanta, or make everyone named Grant who live in Vicksburg change their name? I’m not sure anyone would have noticed had Robert Lee covered the UVA football game. I know it wouldn’t have been on my radar.
Then, there’s the student groundswell at the University of Southern California to do away with long-time mascot Traveler. For those that don’t know, Traveler (spelled with one “l”) is a white horse who rides around the field after a USC touchdown during the football season. There have been nine different “Traveler” horses over the years. Oh, and Traveller (spelled with two “l’s”) was also the name of Robert E. Lee’s horse. Says the USC website on the matter, according to the LA Times, “USC’s mascot horse is a symbol of ancient Troy. It’s rider, with costume and sword, is a symbol of a Trojan warrior…there is no truth to any other claims or rumors about it’s name.”
Indeed, any connection between the USC horse and Robert E. Lee is, putting it mildly, a stretch. This (non) issue is just one example of an over-sensitivity that permeates this country now. We are all looking too closely for something to make us angry.
In closing, I think sometimes things like the two examples above have to do more about skin thickness than skin color. Let it be stated here that racism and bigotry cannot be tolerated in any way, shape, or form. Period. When it comes to racial harmony in this country, let’s engage in meaningful dialogue about meaningful issues, and dial back the “sensitive meter” a bit.
Next week, it’s back to football. Until then…GO HORNETS!