Hank Williams Jr gone from Monday Night Football for good; why won't ESPN say why?
ESPN continued its tight-lipped approach to controversial comments by country singer Hank Williams Jr., releasing a terse statement noting his All My Rowdy Friends would appear as a theme on its Monday Night Football show.
Their statement: "We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr. We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue."
Of course, this statement leaves open an essential question: why exactly is ESPN parting ways with its longtime theme song singer?
Could it be because Williams compared President Obama to Hitler in a Monday appearance on Fox News? Or is it because Williams "Are you ready for some football?" theme had been opening the broadcast for 20 years and they needed a change, anyway?
Williams said it was his idea on his website: "After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision," he wrote. "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."
Be assured that the singer's fans will see this as nothing less than a 1st Amendment abridgment of his free speech rights. Even though the First Amendment doesn't guarantee you the right to be broadcast on a televised football game; it just guarantees you can't be arrested by the government for saying something a politician doesn't like.
Williams should have known he was getting away with quite a bit; he kept his gig despite writing a song called "If the South Woulda Won," praising how "we woulda had it made" if the Confederacy had won the Civil War. In the song, he says Elvis' death would be a national holiday, but I'm thinking people like me would be someone else's property -- since the Civil War was mostly fought over slavery.
Not a great position to advocate while doing business with a sports league where nearly 70 percent of the players are African American.
So people like me get to think Williams was bounced for being racially insensitive, while his fans can believe he was bounced for speaking his mind.
Mostly because ESPN didn't have the corporate will to tell us why they ended a 20-year partnership.
Here's what you won't see anymore, below