Thursday, October 6, 2011
– ESPN says Hank Jr. is gone from singing the intro song to Monday Night Football, but the singer says he pulled the song.
The controversy stems from an interview done by Williams and Fox News on Monday where he compared President Obama to Hitler. As a result, Williams was suspended from singing that night as the lead-in to the game.
Now, Hank Jr. says he decided to pack it in. Williams wrote on his web site, "AFTER ESPN SUSPENDS HANK JR. FOR ONE-WEEK, HANK JR. DECIDES TO PULL HIS SONG FROM BEING USED ON ESPN FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON!"
"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."
That's not exactly jibe with ESPN's story. "We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr," ESPN said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue."
During the interview, Williams linked President Obama with House Speaker John Boehner. "It'd be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu."
The hosts asked Williams to clarify his comments. "They're the enemy," he said, making it clear he meant the President and Vice President Joe Biden.
ESPN suspended Williams' opening for the Indianapolis-Tampa Bay game on Monday. "While Hank Williams, Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result, we have decided to pull the open from tonight's telecast."
Williams commented on Tuesday, "The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin and high fiven on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement," Williams wrote on Facebook and website. "I am very sorry if it offended anyone."
The song, which is a take off on All My Rowdy Friends has been on Monday Night Football since 1991.