UPDATED: ESPN cut Hank Williams’ traditional lead-in song from last week’s Monday Night Football telecast after the country singer compared President Barack Obama to Hitler during a spot on Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends. He apologized the next day. But today, the sports network owned by ABC has severed ties altogether via a curt statement this morning.
“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.”
According to Williams Jr’s blog, it was his choice, not the network’s, to part ways “After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision,” he wrote in a post dated today. “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.” The Grammy winner’s song had been a part of the MNF telecasts since 1991 on both ESPN and ABC.