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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soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Ronny

    Learn what your rights are, Hank! Hank had every right to say whatever he wanted and ESPN had every right to fire him. He isn't being imprisoned for his statement or punished by the government, which is how he is protected by the first amendment. ESPN had every right to fire an employee they thought was a bad reflection on their company. At least there's an upside, no more awful, twangy song before the football game!

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

      hank is not an employee of espn, but whatever. who cares about some dumb country singer.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • SDKady

      Sounds like you are a little racist towards country music, boy

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

      Nicely stated...I could not stand him...thank you ESPN.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • RDS

      not racist against country music. just can't stand it. big difference, so be careful with your words, boy.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Boy1der

      I'm –almost– certain that "Country Music" isn't a race, therefore making being "racist against country music" a statistical impossibility.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Bemused

      SDkay, racism toward country music??? Explain please. Did someone not serve 'country music' a meal in a public restaurant? Did someone make 'country music' sit in the back of a bus?
      My my, maybe some 'country music' has associated itself / herself/ himself with rightwing nutcasers and Tpartiers. Let's therefore diss-associate [sic] ourselves from lil country music. Poo' lil baby. Whiner.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Christopher Maness

    I am probably going to regret even saying something. So many of you have taken the opportunity to SCREAM OUT your racial, political, sarcastic, demeaning, back stabbing.......................comparisons and remarks, ever since Obama has taken office. I avoid politics, as we all saw during the last Address, it was pathetic to see you over aged children sit there with your arms crossed, pouting. Guess we should FIRE 'EM ALL for being such a disgrace to our political system. Oh wait, they are voicing their opinion.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. patrick

    I don't care about Hank Jr's comment (silly, but same as the lefties comparing Bush to Hitler)...anyway, I'm glad they're pulling the song....I'm so sick of it. I wish they'd stop trying so hard to marry the NFL to the pop culture.....how about focusing on the game? All the hooplah surrounding the game is getting so ridiculous. You know, like have 20 commentators discuss the game before kick-off....and none of them offering any significant insight.

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

      You are so right. The great numbers of commentators talking before each game are just "talking heads." THey are quite often wrong – but then who could actually know which team is going to win the game anyway. It must be nice to have a job where all you have to do is talk. Like the political goofballs on the radio.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. sushihead

    He never compared odumba to hitler! My lord CNN.

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

      Well, when the woman clarified that he had done it, he said "YEA!!!". So, actually, yea, he did. Watch it again? We should ALL watch things again and again before we recklessly post, maybe...

      October 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ABCBruno

    Hank, didn't compare Obama to Hilter, maybe Stalin but not Hilter.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Angeh

      Well, when the woman clarified that he had done it, he said "YEA!!!". So, actually, yea, he did. Watch it again? We should ALL watch things again and again before we recklessly post, maybe...

      October 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jill Williams

    Good Ridden, Hank !!!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rob Thomson

    Hank is completely justified leaving. Espn is just an over-sensitive corporate sucking company . I too am out of here. Good on you Hank. Shame on YOU ESPN. eXTRA sENSITIVE pLACE of nOBODIES!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Numutz

      I'm pretty sure Hank is leaving on his own accord. ESPN probably decided he's just too trashy for their image and dumped him. It's hardly ever the celebrity which dumps the sponsor/patron. This looks to me like Hank trying to save face.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • some dude

      They told him to leave. You can't leave when you aren't there any longer.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Spock500

      And your opinion on what happened to the Dixie Chicks, Sir?

      October 6, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Bemused

      Spock, the dixie chicks made comments at their OWN concert, about George W, also from Texas. Should the Dixie Chicks have fired themselves? They sure got ostracized by corporate right wing radio stations. I didn't hear them complain though.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. wadya

    I bet old First Amendment Hank was right out there defending the Dixie Chicks when they were being destroyed by all his rowdy friends.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ric

    The 1st amendment allows you to say what you want without legal repercussions. But it doesn’t make you free from public ridicule. THAT would be socialism buddy. Think before you open your mouth and make an idiot out of yourself next time.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Michael Markie

    Bad comments, from a guy who should know better. He can join Rush at the table of those ignorant big mouths that do not know when to stop.

    Well done ESPN!

    October 6, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. Hank Williams

    He embarrassed me.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joenunya

    ESPN – Good job. Twice you have done the class thing to do. First was NOT televising the seizure of coach Snow, now this. We all have opinions. Voicing those opinions can have consequences. Lesson: Don't be stupid on national TV

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

      ESPN is all the is wrong in our society, report and do what they want . Like reporting on the wrongs of college corruption,but making millions off College kids, then they band wagon report about the kids breaking the rules and taking a few pennies. Then they crucify colleges on the issue when they are the number one cause of the issue with all the money the give Universities and Conferences in the sport for coverage... come on... they are owned by ABC , what do we expect from these liberal hypocrites!

      October 6, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Spock500

    Good riddance. MNF was a smashing success for the decades preceding this redneck turkey, and it will be for decades thereafter.

    And BTW, I like most others believe in freedom of speech, but also in the freedom of taking responsibility for this freedom of speech and in the freedom to protect the image of my company from my obnoxious employees.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. wesley

    Bush is using Drones to kill drones to kill "terrorists" and children or innocents around them. The slanted biased liberal media demands his impeachment.....oh wait! Obama is using drones to kill people....oh...that's ok then.
    So many hateful-liberal-Bush bashing comments were said while Bush was president....oh...that's ok...it's free speech...lets let them right a book....let's have them on our shows... HANK WILLIAMS JR. !!!!! It takes true guts standing up for the us 'little people' without a voice when you know the media, big-fat-rich network desk monkeys and liberal news hacks are going to crucify you. I am now a BIG fan!!!

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

      I suspect you were already a fan before. Most people aren't actually open-minded, but rather look for the "facts" which support their biases. Based on your commentary, you seem to be fitting that description to a T.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • wesley

      Maybe your "intelligent theory" might possibly have some merit if it wasn't coming from a Numnutz ! And anyone who says "most people are actually open-minded" are usually in an academia setting and haven't experienced the real world out there. Go back to your books little boy.

      October 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Bemused

      I am so glad you little people buy this trash can's music releases. He gets rich, millions, you get ehmmm efff'ed, as happens usually to 'little people" Go right on worshipping your bigshot heroes. They'll laugh and cash in, and keep you out of their lives.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Frank S

    Fox News to use his material as opening theme songs in 5...4...3...

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