Monday was not a good day for Hank Williams Jr.
The country singer, who performs the “are you ready for some football?” lead-in on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, has been pulled from the program after comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler in an interview Monday morning.
Williams told Fox News news anchors on Fox & Friends that this summer’s golf summit between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner was like “Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.” When asked to elaborate on his analogy, Williams called Obama and Vice President Joe Biden the enemy.
Fox’s Gretchen Carlson later pressed him and said, “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’s true. But I’m telling you like it is.”
In response, ESPN dropped the opening song in Monday’s broadcast, declaring in a statement on the pregame show, “While Hank Williams Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize he is closely linked to our company through the opening to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.”
Williams later released a statement, and did not apologize for his political remarks, but instead said he holds strong opinions and his comments were 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,” he said. “They don’t see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the president.”
It is unclear whether the Emmy-winning song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night,” a remix of Williams’ 1984 hit “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” will be dropped permanently from the program’s introduction.
“Working-class people are hurting — and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares,” Williams continued in his statement. “When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job – it makes a whole lot of us angry. Something has to change.” And apparently, so does our Monday night theme song.