ESPN President John Skipper defended the reassignment of commentator Robert Lee following a media uproar.
"There was a question as to whether – in these divisive times -- Robert's assignment might create a distraction, or even worse, expose him to social hectoring and trolling," he said in a statement Wednesday night. "He expressed some personal trepidation about the assignment and, when offered the chance to do the Youngstown State/Pitt game instead, opted for that game -- in part because he lives in Albany and would be able to get home to his family on Saturday evening."
On Tuesday, the sports network announced it was reassigning Asian-American commentator Lee from the University of Virginia game to the Youngstown State game at Pittsburgh.
Skipper also said there "was never any concern -- by anyone, at any level -- that Robert Lee's name would offend anyone watching the Charlottesville game."
Skipper called the decision "routine."
UVA is in Charlottesville, Va., where violent protests broke out less than two weeks ago when white supremacists gathered to oppose the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. An white supremacist allegedly drove his car into a crowd of anti-protestors, killing one woman and injuring 19 others.
The Virginia Cavaliers football team opens its season against the William and Mary Tribe over Labor Day weekend.