FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Posted on: Oct 04, 2011 at 01:50
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The Hank Williams Jr. song that has opened Monday Night Football for 20 years will not be part of the opening of this week's Indianapolis-Tampa Bay game after Williams made controversial comments about President Barack Obama.

Williams compared Obama to Adolf Hitler on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" show Monday morning.

ESPN, in a statement, said: "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. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the opening from tonight's telecast."

Williams issued a statement through his publicist, saying: "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."

Williams, whose song "All My Rowdy Friends" has been the Monday Night Football theme on both ABC and ESPN since 1991, told "Fox and Friends" that he thought Speaker of the House John Boehner playing golf with President Obama "would be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu ... In the shape this country is in?"

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