ESPN has decided to part ways with long-time collaborator Hank Williams Jr. after the singer controversially compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler.
Williams Jr. made the controversial remarks on the Fox & Friends morning show when he compared Obama and Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner golfing together to Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu ... In the shape this country is in?
ESPN pulled Williams Jr.'s popular rendition of, All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight, which has served as the opener for Monday Night Football broadcasts for the past 20 years before deciding to cut ties altogether with the country singer.
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.
Williams Jr. however said it was his decision to pull his popular song off of ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcasts.
After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision, Williams Jr. wrote on his personal Web site. 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.
But despite his public announcement that he pulled the song, Williams Jr. apologized the day after the incident saying, I have always been very passionate about politics and sports and this time it got the best or worst of me.
ESPN faced pressure from offended groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, to rebuke the singer's controversial remarks.
Hank Williams Jr. should know better, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the ADL, said in a statement. He owes an apology to Holocaust survivors, their families, and the brave American soldiers who have themselves to fight the Nazi menace during World War II. The last thing we need is to enter another election cycle on a sour note tainted with inappropriate, tired, and over-the-top analogies to the Nazis, he said.
ESPN has not publicly commented whether it will replace the Are You Ready for Some Football anthem with another song or if it will just avoid an opening montage like it did for Monday night's game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts.