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. dave

    Sorry about his lack of tact, but he made a darn good point!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      He simply said what millions of us think. This just shows that the liberals at ABC care more about carrying Obama`s water than they do about the people that watch the game.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Geezer

      you're right, Boehner is quite the Hitler.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • TONY

      The only point he made was how ignorant he is.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. NealP

    I don't have a problem with him expressing an opinion, but I'm sure glad he's off MNF! How much longer were they going to drag out that tired old opening theme? Do young people even know who Hank Williams, Jr. is? Come up with something new already! I'm afraid Sunday Night Football will fall into the same trap and 20 years from now Faith Hill will be coming out with her walker to shake her saggy booty.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dennis

    ...yet Craig James still has a job at ESPN after the whole Texas Tech ordeal

    October 6, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. TheWiseProfessor

    Hank – freedom of association is also a first amendment right which ESPN exercised when they terminated their association with you.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Good riddance

    Now maybe we can watch Monday Night Football without the redneck drivel he spouts and calls 'music'

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

    No big deal

    October 6, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. demmie

    i think the "truth" is in the statments – ESPN says they're parting ways; Hamk says he cut the ties. I believe Hank

    October 6, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Elite Hunting

      You think he pulled a song that he sold to them off their airwaves, huh? Could you really be that stupid or do you just live in fantasyland?

      October 6, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Numnutz

    1. Williams wasn't speaking for all working class people, just the segment that has been brainwashed to think that Obama is the enemy (rather than all the corporations that shipped their jobs overseas).
    2. Williams doesn't know what he's talking about when he complains about his First Amendment rights being trampled on. The First Amendment pertains to government, not corporations and employment law.
    3. Williams, rather than taking full and unqualified ownership of the stupidity of his comments, decides to project that onto everyone else. He could have easily made his point without having to compare anyone to Hitler.

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

      It is stupid to blame big banks and corporations without blaming government as well, for giving them the tools to dismantle our economy. I see, and understand the role big business and banks have played. That is why we have a government to regulate and make the rules to even the playing field. How can you get mad at the corporations for using the tools that the politicians put in place for them, so they could manipulate policy and politics. There is a forest behind that tree your sitting there staring at.With that one fact, I don't understand why people would want government trying to provide everything people need. They can't fix whats wrong now. How on earth would they ever be able to provide everything........stupidiest notion I have ever heard.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Angeh

      I think you both are right, in that our problem is politicians having their hands in corporate pockets. Thus, OccupyWallStreet is born.

      And thunderbolt? No one wants goverment to provide EVERYTHING. Healthcare, not Corvettes. Fire protection and law enforcment, not lipstick. See the difference? Healthcare and the like are national security matters, imho. It's one of the insane aspects of our society that we have a for-profit healthcare system, where shareholders are enriched when my claim is denied. Insane.

      Thank you ESPN. Hank overstepped. Actually, I think he was probably drunk..

      October 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. reflanary

    According to Alan Jackson this guy "took some things that messed up his thinking."

    October 6, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. Geezer

    hahaha....maybe he can go sing at Sarah Palin events again. Right wing trash.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. Judith Nixon

    ESPN got it right this time!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. Not Lqqking

    Boo hoo....it's about time this degenerate was dismissed. Remember the Dixie Chicks there "Waterhead" Williams? Think about it.

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

    Hank, your remarks are true to rednecks everywhere! Your stupidity far surpasses your talent. You were provided a gift from God, and you blemished it with the idiotic remarks. How sad.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. My2Sense4U

    He made a comparative comment about Obama and Boehner being like Hitler and Netanyahu. He didn't call anyone Hitler. I bet Hank did fire ESPN and they put out the standard B.S. release. Good for Hank and his first amendment rights. People need to lighten up and be realistic.

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

      Are you aware that there is no such thing as a First Amendment right in contractual matters between a private citizen and a corporation?

      As any good talent agent will tell you, corporations affiliate with celebrities because they want to temporarily associate with a certain image that the celebrity has cultivated. When that image becomes too toxic or trashy, they have clauses that allow them to dump the celebrity. In these splits, it's hardly ever the celebrity dumping the sponsor.

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

    Hail Obama! All who dare question his leadership will pay.

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

      yes Obama called ESPN and forced them to fire your boyfriend.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Angeh

      Go overboard much??

      October 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
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