ESPN dropped its iconic “Are You Ready For Some Football?” jingle from this week’s Monday Night Football broadcast of the Indianapolis Colts-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, after singer Hank Williams Jr. compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler in a TV interview, CNN reports.
Speaking Monday morning on Fox News’s Fox and Friends, Williams, 62, likened the president’s recent golf outing with Republican House Speaker John Boehner to “Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”
“They’re the enemy,” the son of country music legend Hank Williams later elaborated, explaining he was referring to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. “I’m telling you like it is.”
ESPN released a statement later in the day, saying: “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 responded with a statement of his own, saying in part: “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.”
ESPN has not said whether it will reinstate the Williams intro, which has been in place since 1989. The song is a remix of Williams’s song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” and its use as the Monday Night Football theme has won the singer four Emmy Awards.