Hank Williams Jr., Monday Night Football Part Ways; But Who Dropped Who?

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — “Are you ready for some football?”

Well, yes. We are.

But Monday nights will be without Hank Williams Jr.’s familiar refrain.

The country singer and ESPN each took credit for the decision Thursday morning to no longer use his classic intro to “Monday Night Football.”

The network had pulled the intro for this week’s game after the country singer used an analogy to Adolf Hitler in discussing President Barack Obama on Fox News on Monday morning.

Williams issued a statement Monday night insisting his remarks were misunderstood, then apologized Tuesday.

“We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams Jr,” ESPN said. “We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue.”

The network said it informed Williams of the move Thursday morning.

But on his official website, Williams said: “After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE.  It’s been a great run.”

Regardless of whose decision it was, one of sports’ and entertainment’s most visible partnerships is over. The song had been a “Monday Night Football” staple since 1989 and survived the game’s switch of networks from ABC to cable a few years ago.

It all started when Williams, unprompted, said of Obama’s golf outing with House Speaker John Boehner: “It’d be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.”

“Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade told Williams he didn’t understand the analogy. “Well, I’m glad you don’t, brother,” Williams responded. “Because a lot of people do. They’re the enemy.”

Asked to clarify who he meant by “the enemy,” Williams said, “Obama! Biden!”

Anchor Gretchen Carlson later said to him, “You used the name of one of the most hated people in all of the world to describe, I think, the president.” Williams replied, “Well, that is true. But I’m telling you like it is.”

Who should pen the next MNF anthem? Sound off in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. JERRY says:

    ESPN IS 100% WRONG I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC AND HANK. TOO MANY PEOPLE TODAY ARE SCARED TO SPEAK THERE MIND AND BELIEFS…WHAT HAPPEN TO THE 1ST AMENDMENT, WE THE CITIZENS HAVE ALLOWED THE MEDIA AND OTHERS TO BASICALLY THROW IT OUT…SUCH A SHAME I SPEAK MY MIND AND I DONT GIVE A RATS ASS WHAT ANYBODY THINKS AGREES OR DISAGREES!!!!!!!!

    1. C. Thomas says:

      Hank is more than entitled to his opinion AND it’s protected by law. BUT that doesn’t mean ESPN and MNF have to agree! He tarnished their image and they have a right to say bye-bye! Guess Hank might actually have to work for a living now!

  2. LukeCage says:

    Glad he got fired!!! He made his point all right. His point was to show how dumb he was to let a dopey Morning News Fox show bait him into a policital debate. That is something he does not a keen ablility to do.
    What a dumb analogy to make. To mention a mans name who was responsible for the murder of 6 million ppl with any other Human being is just country bumpkin dumb. Especially, when you work for a Disney owned Company. It goes to show you words are very powerfull especilaly if you do not know how to use them to effectively make your point.

  3. Mike says:

    It’s a joke they pulled it off in the first place… he never compared him to Hitler in his policies, he was making a point about two opposite ends of a spectrum. He could have made the same point by saying “it’d be like Adam Smith and Karl Marx playing golf together” and nobody would have blinked. But the media is always looking to turn things into stories and villify people, they turned it into “HANK WILLIAMS THINKS OBAMA IS AS EVIL AS HITLER”

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