You may be ready for football, but ESPN is not ready to let Hank Williams Jr. open tonight’s game after his incendiary comment about President Obama on Fox News.
The country singer criticized the president’s recent “golf summit” with Republican House Speaker John Boehner. The singer told Fox & Friends that the meeting “would be like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli leader] Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Williams’ voice is famously used to open Monday Night Football, asking viewers “are you ready for some football?” ESPN released this statement:
“While Hank Williams, Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.”
Williams explained during the Fox News telecast that he made the comparison because the president was “the enemy.”
See video of the Fox News segment here.
UPDATE: According to TMZ, Hank Williams released a statement claiming he was misunderstood: “Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood. My analogy was extreme – but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me – how ludicrous that pairing was. They’re polar opposites and it made no sense. They don’t see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the President. Every time the media brings up the tea party it’s painted as racist and extremists – but there’s never a backlash – no outrage to those comparisons… Working class people are hurting – and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares. When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job – it makes a whole lot of us angry. Something has to change. The policies have to change.”