On Monday, October 3, 2011, ESPN decided to pull the Monday Night Football Intro, as performed by country singer Hank Williams, Jr. (HuffingtonPost). This decision was made after Williams made comments on a Fox News morning show, where he compared President Barack Obama with Adolf Hitler, and called Obama and Vice President Biden “the enemy.” Williams performance was replaced by the national anthem. On Thursday October 6, ESPN announced that Williams will no longer be make openers for Monday Night Football (ESPN). Williams had been creating Intros for Monday Night Football since 1991, and was famous for the line “Are you ready for some Football!”
Some people (including Williams) would argue that the First Amendment has been violated. Williams has political views and simply felt like he needed express them. While it is true that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and everyone else “should” respect this freedom, is also true that nobody is free from the consequences of their opinions. It’s not uncommon for celebrities or entertainers to voice their political ideas, but it is always suggested that they wait until they are in a good position to do so. Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura became the Governor Minnesota, but he wasn’t making huge public political statements while he and “Macho Man” Randy Savage were fighting for the Tag Team Championship. Some may also say that Williams was making comments in line with the views of Fox News and its audience and he got too comfortable. This could be true, but being on ESPN for 20 years and being in the music industry for even longer, he must of known where the line was.
I don’t believe Williams being fired was a bad thing however. This was a good reminder that Williams has been doing Monday Night Football intro’s for a while and it was time for some fresh ideas. The songs he was doing every week were starting to get gimmicky and people will probably miss them as much as they miss “Steve” for the Dell computer commercials. There is a decent chance he felt this way too. Also it’s worth noting that he went out with a bang. Plenty of people (including myself) has been fired from jobs without getting the chance to tell the man how we really feel. But he had a good run, and football fans, musicians, and television producers everywhere respect him for that. As Monday Nights roll along, and the greetings to our football games change, his legacy will always be remembered.
Williams stated in the Fox News interview that he is considering running for Senator for the state of Tennessee. This is a great time for him to focus on that and move on to the next stage of his life, but he probably won’t be getting my vote anytime soon. Nobody ever loves the government all the time, but comparing respected government officials to mass murdering dictators is never a good idea. If he wants his political career to be as successful as his music/television career he better get ready to read some books and articles instead of blurting out ignorant analogy.