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Yes ESPN, there is a West Virginia

January 16, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

"So, how near are you to Richmond?" It's a question more than a few West Virginians have been asked when traveling outside this region of the country.

Unfortunately, many of our fellow Americans seem unaware ours is a separate, sovereign state. Such ignorance was on display in the ESPN television network's coverage of West Virginia University's win in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4.

At one point in a show before the game, ESPN sportscaster Brad Nessler promoted the Orange Bowl contest with this statement: "The only team to beat Virginia Tech this season, the Clemson Tigers ... take on another team from the state of Virginia. West Virginia in the Discover Orange Bowl."

ESPN said Nessler knows there is a West Virginia, and was just reading a script. Well, shame on ESPN for having scriptwriters who don't know the difference between us and the Old Dominion.

Such confusion is not uncommon and it is not new. Still, it's annoying, as are the bad "hillbilly" jokes we hear regularly from those in the media who at least are aware West Virginia is a state.

It's interesting, we think. After all, what's the stereotype about West Virginians? Ignorance and bigotry.

How ironic.



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