The Art of Jumping the Shark – ESPN Style

This week ESPN announced that it is was reassigning announcer Robert Lee, who was scheduled to call play by play for the University of Virginia-William & Mary football game on September 2. The reason for the move was, well, we really have no idea. The reason given was so inane, even for the inanely inane ESPN, that there had to be some other reason, like he was found drunk and naked in a stranger’s condo. Oops, sorry, that was actually ESPN radio host Ryen Rusillo.

Fortunately, we have some recently leaked internal emails that may shed some light on the thinking within ESPN.

8/22/17 2:15 pm

As you know, we regretfully had to reassign Robert Lee, who was originally scheduled to handle play by play duties for the UVA-William & Mary game on ESPN 3. We didn’t make that decision lightly, but we simply couldn’t take the chance that viewers would mistake Robert Lee, who is Asian-American, with Robert E. Lee, the Confederate Civil War general.

Lee, the announcer, not the deceased general, will be replaced by Jeff Davis. Lee is being reassigned to cover the Gwent Badminton intramural league at Monmouth College, which will air on ESPN 14.

8/22/17 3:36 pm

Regarding the play by play assignment for the UVA-William & Mary game, we’ve got a new update. We were a bit hasty in naming Jeff Davis to replace Robert Lee. It turns out that the name Jeff Davis is too similar to that of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Davis, the announcer, not the deceased President of the Confederacy, will be reassigned.

8/22/17 4:10 pm

We have assigned Bob Ley to do play by play for the UVA-William & Mary game.

8/22/17 5:26 pm

It’s me again. Unfortunately, although it’s spelled differently, Ley is actually pronounced the same as Lee. And Bob is short for Robert. We seem to have put ourselves in the same situation we started with. I guess we didn’t think that one through very well. Look for an announcement about a new play by play announcer for the game within an hour.

11/22/17 6:22 pm

We believe we have finally found a suitable play by play replacement for the UVA-William & Mary game. Lee Corso’s cocker spaniel, Scruffy, will take over the duties. We believe Scruffy will be an acceptable and non-controversial selection for all concerned, despite his inexperience with both football and broadcasting and his inability to actually speak.

11/22/17 10:12 pm

Just got off the phone with Corso. Unfortunately, Scruffy will be undergoing species reassignment surgery on the same day as the Virginia game and will not be available. Scruffy will become a cat and, henceforth, will be referred to as Missy. Also, it turns out Robert E. Lee may have had a cocker spaniel at some point.

We wish Missy the best.

More to come on the announcer assignment shortly.

11/27/17 11:34 pm

ESPN has decided that it will not broadcast the UVA-William & Mary game scheduled for September 2. Our network simply cannot tolerate the sexism that surrounds the name William & Mary. Regretfully, going forward we will not schedule any further games involving William & Mary until Mary is listed first.

Programming note: In place of the UVA-William & Mary game ESPN will be airing a broadcast of the Gwent Badminton League intramural match at Monmouth College. Robert Lee will handle the play by play.

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Curtice Mang

Curtice Mang is the author of two books, The Constitution - I'm Not Kidding and Other tales of Liberal Folly and The Smell of Politics: The Good, The Bad and The Odorous. He is a regular contributor of commentary and political satire to multiple websites. He lives in Phoenix with his wife.

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