ESPN has decided to end its relationship with country musician Hank Williams Jr., following comments the singer made on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” earlier this week. Music from Williams Jr. has graced the opening to “Monday Night Football” for 20 years on ABC and ESPN, along with the catchphrase “Are You Ready For Some Football?”
“We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr. We appreciate his contributions over the past years,” read a network statement, released Thursday morning. “The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue.”
Williams Jr. released a statement of his own, accusing ESPN of having “stepped on the toes” of the 1st Amendment:
“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision,” Williams said in a statement. “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.”
On “F&F” Monday, Williams Jr. said that President Obama playing golf with House Speaker John Boehner was “like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu!” and he proceeded to refer to Obama and VP Biden as “the enemy.” ESPN pulled Williams Jr. from Monday night’s football game, though left open the possibility that he may return. That door has now been closed. Williams Jr. would end up releasing an apology, though it received a tepid response from media outlets.