“Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood,” singer Hank Williams, Jr., said in a statement issued this evening.
Williams was responding to ESPN pulling his song “All My Rowdy Friends,” from tonight’s Monday Night Football broadcast, featuring the Indianapolis Colts facing off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in response to some rather pointed language about President Obama — Hitler was invoked — that Williams used earlier in the day.
On Fox & Friends Williams expressed chagrin that Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, played golf with President Obama, which he compared to “Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu … In the shape this country is in?”
One of the anchors, Brian Kilmeade, responded that he didn’t understand the analogy.
“I’m glad you don’t, brother, because a lot of people do,” Williams said. “They’re the enemy.”
Who’s the enemy?
“Obama,” Williams said. “And Biden. Are you kidding? The Three Stooges.”
Williams went on to bemoan how “polarized” the country is. On that note, anchor Gretchen Carlson pointed out that he had just compared the president to Hitler.
“Well that’s true. But I’m telling you like it is,” Williams said.
In a statement ESPN — a sister organization of ABC’s — said: “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.”
“ All My Rowdy Friends” has been the theme for Monday Night Football since 1991.
Williams said in his statement this evening: “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,” Williams said. “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.”
– Jake Tapper