ESPN, Hank Williams Jr. part permanently over controversial comments


(Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

Both have announced that, after two decades, Williams will no longer be singing the “Monday Night Football” theme song after controversial remarks he made earlier this week about President Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler.

Maybe they could croon “turn out the lights, the party’s over” for old times’ sake?

ESPN and Williams each claim to have made the decision, with ESPN saying in a statement:

“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.”

Williams, whose opening was pulled from Monday night’s telecast after his remarks that day on “Fox & Friends,” said, in a statement to the Associated Press, that the decision was his.

“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. 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.”

Williams owns the publishing rights, master recordings (with lyrics changed each week to fit the opponents) and the song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.” He apologized Wednesday for using Hitler in an analogy to describe the golf summit this summer between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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