BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) - Are you ready for some football? Hank
Williams Jr. isn't anymore.
The country singer and ESPN each took credit for the decision
Thursday morning to no longer use his classic intro to "Monday
The network had pulled the song from the game earlier this week
after Williams made an analogy to Adolf Hitler in discussing
President Barack Obama on Fox News on Monday morning.
"After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision,"
Williams said in a statement to the Associated Press. "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."
But ESPN's statement said: "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."
The network said it informed Williams of the move Thursday
Regardless of whose decision it was, one of sports' and
entertainment's most visible partnerships is over. The song had
been a "Monday Night Football" staple since 1989 and survived the
game's switch of networks from ABC to cable a few years ago.
The song is based on Williams' hit "All My Rowdy Friends Are
Coming Over Tonight." The lyrics were changed each week to reflect
the night's game.
ESPN will no longer have access to the music or words because
Williams owns the publishing rights, the master recordings and the
Williams' statement on "Fox & Friends" comparing a golf game
between Obama and Republican Rep. John Boehner to an outing
featuring Hitler and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went
viral after ESPN announced it would pull the intro late that
Among Williams' defenders were Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar of "The View," who have a very different political viewpoint from
the conservative Williams, but often are called out for their own
"Those among us who are without sin, cast the first stone,"
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)