ESPN severs relationship with singer Hank Williams Jr.
Hank Williams Jr., pictured on September 12, compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler in an interview this week on Fox News.
October 6th, 2011
10:33 AM ET

ESPN severs relationship with singer Hank Williams Jr.

ESPN says it has severed its relationship with singer Hank Williams Jr. following controversy over his remarks comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.

"We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr. We appreciate his contributions over the past years," a statement on ESPN's site said. "The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue."

Williams gave a very different statement: "After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. 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."

On Tuesday the singer had apologized Tuesday for his remarks which resulted in "Monday Night Football" pulling his popular musical introduction from this week's game.

"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' [sic] and high fiven' [sic] on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by, simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement, and I am very sorry if it offended anyone. I would like to thank all my supporters. This was not written by some publicist," Williams wrote.

Williams made the comparison on Fox News this week when he was asked about Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, playing on the same team in a June golf game.

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Filed under: Sports
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Jonah

    Dummy

    October 6, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Prez Obozo

      Yep – Obozo is an idiot!

      October 6, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Boy1der

      @Jonah
      Couldn't have put it better or more succinctly myself. kudos.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bailey

    Hank Williams Jr is proof that greatness skips a generation.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff

    I t hink ESPN is correct for doing this.. The blatent disrespect for this president has been sickening. Remember when the dixie chicks said they were ashamed of dubya being from Texas, and what happend to them. Thank you ESPN for doing t he right thing

    October 6, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. BeechV35Pilot

    It must be me but I didn't quite understand why his remarks were so offensive to some and needed this level of scrutinization. Speak up for the wealthy, get slammed. Speak of for the working class, which is more or less what HWjr was doing, get slammed. Current society is just way too PC. And we all want straight-talkers for politicians? Ha...

    October 6, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat2u.

    His daddy would have been so proud.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Actually, Yes, I think he would have been proud that his son stood up for his beliefs. The only mistakes he made were appearing on Fox, and not being tactful.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. s kel

    He reminds me of what the tea party is made of. Stupity and foot n mouth disease.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Oops! I think you caught it!

      October 6, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Guido52

      s kel – learn to spell – stupity is spelled stupidity...

      October 6, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Troy Bost

    This is wrong! HE DID NOT COMPARE OBAMA TO HITLER! He was making a point on how completely ridiculous the pairing was. The leader of Isreal and of the Jewish faith and Hitler the man responsible for the Jewish Holicaust. Maybe he should have said Jesus and Pointus Pilot! The media just loves to twist things.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • William Johnson

      What he said after the Fox Host, Brian Kilmeade said he didn't understand the analogy sealed the deal: "I'm glad you don't brother, because a lot of people do. They're the enemy... Obama! And Biden! Are you kidding? The Three Stooges." They're the enemy is the quote, one can only assume he is then comparing Obama to Hitler. As others have pointed out, when the Dixie Chicks protested Bush, by saying they were "ashamed that the President came from Texas." their music was pulled from many country music stations. I understand why both the country stations and ESPN did what they did.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • MattNAustin

      I agree, more lousy reporting, if you want to call it that, by CNN. I still don't see what was so bad, and I am an Obama fan...

      October 6, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • GunnerGA

      He certainly wasn't comparing John Boehner to Hitler. So I'm going with what everyone else heard him say. Williams is simply a red neck idiot who has no filter. I never liked his music nor did I ever like his involvement with Monday Night Football. Bring back the original anthem that got us all excited about those singular non-Sunday games of yesteryear. Of course, with all the multiple games that are not played on Sunday, Monday Night Football is simply not as much an event as it used to be. Still Williams turn MNF into some kind of Nascar/white trash event. I for one am happy to say b-bye!

      October 6, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • moderate

      @ Troy Bost – While I would almost agree with you on this point that HWJ attempted to make a horrible analogy, his follow up comments to the bad analogy indicate otherwise.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Huff

    Okay kids today's lesson:
    ESPN = PC x PR / CYA

    October 6, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Bette

      Good one!!! Funny!!!

      Thanks!

      October 6, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sean

    ..."All my dumb opinions got me fired tonight...."

    October 6, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Xerlotian

    Freedom of Speech folks. Freedom to say whatever, whenever. You just have to deal with the repercussions. When the subject is politics or religion, you always offend someone.

    October 6, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      You're absolutely right...he has the freedom to say whatever he wants. But he also has the *responsibility* to deal with the reprocussions of his actions...just like the Dixie Chicks did when Natalie Maynes said what she said. And truth be told, I'm sorry, but you don't get a free pass when you compare the President of the US, regardless of which party he belongs to, to the perpetrator of genocide. Again, he has the right to free speech... but ESPN doesn't have to appear to endorse it or give him a pulpit to put forth his rhetoric.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. JayKingOfGay

    Beech, it had nothing to do with him speaking up for the working class. He compared a sitting president to an infamous sociopathic genocidal murderer. There is no comparison between ANY of our presidents and Hitler. Not Bush and certainly not Obama. It cheapens the horror of what Hitler did, and it lowers the national discourse on real issues and real problems. There are ways of talking about issues without making such hyperbolic statements that only serve to divide the country more. Rather than having an intelligent discussion about classism we're distracted by his absurdly poor choice in words.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hank Williams Jr.

    Are you ready for some Welfare? A Mexican Party?

    October 6, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      ...this is 'ole Hank...let's get this job search started...

      October 6, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Boy1der

      "we got the cameras awwwwn, studio lights are brrrrrright..
      Let me stick my big fat drunkin stupid idiot bloated fat always sunglass wearin' daddy legacy exploitin' fat foot in ma' mouth t'niiiiiiight...!"

      October 6, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Boy1der

      "......that's right..."

      October 6, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. Eddie

    Note to all public figures: NEVER MENTION HITLER. EVER.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. ObamaHitler

    Hank Williams is 100% correct. ESPN should be embarrassed for supporting this European Socialist, Want ta be Gangster, Community agonizing, media made president.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      So you want the government to force ESPN to employ someone? An interesting take on capitalism.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  15. doogie53

    I'm with you Hank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Spock500

      Well, have fun among the ranks of the unemployed.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Do I want a job?
      Yes I want employment!
      This is ole' Hank,
      Let's get this job search started...
      I opened my mouth...now my career's on ice...
      You won't see my face on Monday Night Football tonight! (or anymore, for that matter...)

      October 6, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
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