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ESPN, Hank Williams Jr. part ways


ESPN -- Hank Williams Jr. theme song won't return to Monday Night Football - ESPN

Hank Williams Jr. and his iconic theme song will not return to ESPN's "Monday Night Football," the network announced Thursday.

In the wake of Williams using an analogy involving Adolf Hitler and President Barack Obama to make a political point on the Fox News Channel, Williams' "All My Rowdy Friends" will no longer be part of the MNF opening.

"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."

On his own website, Williams said he was the one who made the decision.

"After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision," he wrote. "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."

In an interview Monday on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," Williams, unprompted, said of Obama's outing on the links with House Speaker John Boehner: "It'd be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu."

Asked to clarify, Williams said, "They're the enemy," adding that by "they" he meant Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

ESPN pulled Williams' opening to Monday night's Indianapolis-Tampa Bay game and issued a statement saying: "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, through his publicist, said on Monday: "Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood. My analogy was extreme -- but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me -- how ludicrous that pairing was. They're polar opposites and it made no sense. They don't see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the president."

Tuesday, he issued another statement."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 his website. "I am very sorry if it offended anyone."

Williams' song has been part of "Monday Night Football" since 1991 on both ESPN and ABC. He is a Grammy award winner who also was a three-time entertainer of the year from the Academy of Country Music in the 1980s.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Sad times. MNF will never be the same.
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Son of Liberty
It was clear the analogy was that they are polar opposites, he never said Obama was Hitler. How do we know? Maybe he meant Obama was Netanyahu and Boehner was Hitler? This is oversensitivity run amok.

I'm waiting for Tim Robbins to give the speech he gave after Major League Baseball changed their minds and didn't have him speak at a MLB event, the HOF inductions I think it was. The speech where he kept repeating "There's a chill wind in America" with a real breathy voice, very dramatic like he was Orson Wells reading on the radio. Where's his "chill wind" now?


Creeping On You
Really? ESPN seems pretty sensitive on this one. He was making an analogy. So what if he used a hated figure from the past. Napolean was just as bad, and other figures in history, and yet they get mentioned all the time without reprise. Hell, most comedies make hitler jokes. If southpark can make jokes about hilter and saddam hussien and osama bin laden, why can't one one guy use hitler in a political analogy.

ESPN needs to grow a pair.


Registered Member
I wonder, has ABC/ESPN ever "parted ways" with someone because they compared republicans with hitler? Isn't that the network that has "the view"?


Registered Member
It doesn't bother me at all. I never turned the game on for it anyways. I waited the 15-20 minutes after the scheduled time so I could see the coin toss and go from there. Oh well, shit happens.


Better Call Saul
Staff member
I'm with you guys on this one. Give me a break ESPN, over reaction for sure.

Monday Night Football will definitely never be the same again and over something as dumb as this is pretty sad.


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
Bottom line Hank Williams should of not said anything, even his son said that he should keep his mouth shut. If ESPN wants to take it out of there program who are we to judge in all honesty. I don't what he said was all that bad, and like CO mentioned we don't really know what he meant, but at the end of the day they're the one who have the right to do this.


Where is my Queen?
I honestly didn't even know Hank Williams did the theme song for MNF anymore. I don't tune in on the game until I get home from school so I always miss the intro. This is just plain stupid for them to partways regardless of what was said, and quite frankly it doesn't bother me at all. It's not like MNF's ratings will go down with out him.