A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, unveild in 1890, stands at the center of Lee Circle along Monument Avenue August 23, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia.
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images
August 24, 2017 8:15 AM EDT

ESPN president John Skipper has explained that the decision to remove Robert Lee as an announcer from Tuesday night’s football game was not because network bosses were worried about offending people.

Skipper sent an internal memo on Wednesday night, later obtained by CNN, which said: “There was never any concern — by anyone, at any level — that Robert Lee’s name would offend anyone watching the Charlottesville game.

“Among our Charlotte production staff 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.”

Lee was supposed to announce the University of Virginia’s home opener football game, but was switched to announce Youngstown State University pit against the University of Pittsburgh instead. The move comes after violence broke out at a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

One person died after being run over at the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The white nationalist groups were originally protesting plans to remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Skipper added that Lee had some hesitation himself about announcing the Virginia game and opted for the Youngstown State/Pitt game when offered.

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