When you ask somebody "Are you ready for some football?", they know you're talking about Monday Night Football. Singer Hank Williams Jr. has opened MNF for quite some time and his name and football have been synonymous with each other for over 20 years, but after this week's remarks on Fox and Friends, the Disney-owned ESPN and Hank are going to part ways.
Williams was brought onto the show, for a reason I cannot even begin to figure out, to talk about politics. It should be noted that when I think about deep, thoughtful political debate, I think about Hank Williams Jr. (or Willie Nelson). When asked for his thoughts on President Obama playing golf with House Speaker John Boehner, things went a little sideways.
That'd be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu.
He went on to say that Obama and Biden were the enemy but the hosts certainly didn't help the situation. It seems that they were told to antagonize and encourage the actions from Williams, who clearly shouldn't be on a political talk show.
For ESPN's reaction and Williams' explanation, click the break.
At any rate, ESPN is not too happy about this, as you could assume. They've pulled him off the opening for the game last week.
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.
Hank has since apologized for what he said, saying that,
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.
He continued his apology later in the week.
I have always been very passionate about politics and sports, and this time it got the best or worst of me. The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin' and high fivin' on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by, simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement. I am very sorry if it offended anyone. I would like to thank all my supporters. This was not written by some publicist.
We have the clip below for those who didn't see it. It should be noted here that anyone who knows the style of Hank Williams Jr. knows that he is provocative and tries to incite emotions into the people who listen to him. Relatedly, ESPN hasn't said if they will use him for next week's MNF game. Hank looks to run for US Senate in 2012.