Hank Williams Jr.: ESPN Bans Monday Night Football Anthem After Bizarre Rant

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterOctober 3, 2011

Hank Williams Jr. has been the voice to greet us for Monday Night Football for years. That has ended all because he opened his mouth in a bizarre rant riddled with controversy.

On Monday morning, country singer and voice of the Monday Night Football anthem Hank Williams took to Fox News' Fox & Friends.

He was asked to voice his opinions on the state of the GOP and their candidates for president. This avenue took him down a dark road as he compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, and stated that he and Vice President Joe Biden were "the enemy."

His appearance has sparked far more controversy than ESPN would like to deal with. They have since eliminated Williams and the anthem from the Monday Night Football intro.

In the video, Williams took exception to a golf exhibition that took place between Speaker of the House John Boehner and the President.

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He states in the video, "It would be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli leader) Benjamin Netanyahu." When asked to clarify his statement, Williams continues, "I'm glad you don't brother, because a lot of people do. They're the enemy... Obama! And Biden! Are you kidding? The Three Stooges."

The network has since released a statement that reads:

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 will no doubt continue with his political aspirations as he has said he's interested in running as a Republican in 2012 for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee.

UPDATE: Monday, October 3rd, 9:00 p.m. ET

Hank Williams Jr. Has since released a statement elaborating on what was meant by his analogy. The Tennessean posted the following from Williams:

“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.”

– Hank Williams, Jr.

Williams may have done well to elaborate with a much more nuanced response to the questions he was asked.

We all have our opinions, but should be ready to receive the brunt of the alternate view, especially when they are delivered with such nonchalance and controversy.

UPDATE: Monday, October 3rd, 9:30 p.m. ET

The start of Monday Night's game highlighted the national anthem in lieu of Williams' song.

There is no way of knowing where the network goes from here. It is safe to say it will never be the same though.

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