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Williams' MNF opening pulled after singer's Hitler reference

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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If you were confused when you didn't hear Hank Williams Jr.'s familiar "Monday Night Football" intro song setting the stage for the Indianapolis Colts-Tampa Bay Buccaneers tilt, there is an explanation.

ESPN issued a statement announcing its decision to pull Williams' intro off the air after the country music star's controversial comments Monday morning on the Fox News program "Fox & Friends".

In a political discussion, Williams voluntarily brought up President Barack Obama's golf game with Speaker of the House John Boehner during this summer's debt ceiling negotiations, calling it "one of the biggest political mistakes ever" and invoking Adolf Hitler.

"That would be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu," Williams said, via the Huffington Post. "Not hardly. In the shape this country is in?"

When asked to explain his analogy, Williams called Obama and Vice President Joe Biden "the enemy."


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ESPN explained its decision in a statement.

"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," it said. "We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast."

Williams responded in a statement Monday night.

"Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood," said Williams. "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 did not say if the intro, synonymous with "Monday Night Football" since 1989, would be used again after this week's game.

The song "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night" is a remixed version of his 1984 hit "All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight." The version won Williams four Emmy Awards in the early 1990s as the opening theme to "Monday Night Football," then on ABC.

Williams' song Monday was replaced by a highlight montage of the Colts and Buccaneers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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