Country singer Hank Williams Jr., who made famous the line “Are you ready for some football?” in his classic Monday night football intro song, compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler in a Monday morning interview on Fox News’s Fox & Friends. In response, ESPN pulled the song off of the air, The Associated Press reports.
Referring to the golf outing that the president took last summer with House Speaker John Boehner in an attempt to mend fences and seek common ground during the debt-ceiling debate, Williams said, “It’d be like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” adding that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are “the enemy.”
When anchor Gretchen Carlson noted that he’d used “the name of one of the most hated people in all of the world” to describe the president, Williams said that he was just “telling you like it is.”
"While Hank Williams Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the opening to Monday Night Football," said the network in a statement. "We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the opening from tonight's telecast."
ESPN did not, however, state whether it would use the song in the future.
Williams issued a statement defending his analogy, which he acknowledged was “extreme.” But he also tried to justify what he said by calling foul because, in his belief, extreme remarks about the Tea Party do not elicit such strong reactions.
“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," the singer said. “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."
(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages)