Hank Williams Is Just Plain Ignorant

Hank Williams Jr. and his iconic theme song will not return to ESPN's "Monday Night Football," the network announced Thursday.

In the wake of Williams using an analogy involving Adolf Hitler and President Barack Obama to make a political point on the Fox News Channel, Williams' "All My Rowdy Friends" will no longer be part of the MNF opening.

"We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr," ESPN said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue."

On his own website, Williams said he was the one who made the decision.

"After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision," he wrote. "By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It's been a great run."

In an interview Monday on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," Williams, unprompted, said of Obama's outing on the links with House Speaker John Boehner: "It'd be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu."

Asked to clarify, Williams said, "They're the enemy," adding that by "they" he meant Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

ESPN pulled Williams' opening to Monday night's Indianapolis-Tampa Bay game and issued a statement saying: "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, through his publicist, said on Monday: "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."

Tuesday, he issued another statement."The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin and high fiven on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement," Williams wrote on Facebook and his website. "I am very sorry if it offended anyone."

Williams' song has been part of "Monday Night Football" since 1991 on both ESPN and ABC. He is a Grammy award winner who also was a three-time entertainer of the year from the Academy of Country Music in the 1980s.
Okay, so here is why I am saying that Williams is "ignorant". He said that ESPN "stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment Freedom of Speech". Incorrect use of capital letters aside, did ESPN step on the 'Toes' of the Constitution?

Nope. The First Amendment -- and the freedom of speech -- is to protect Americans against... wait for it... the government. Not ESPN or any other corporate entity. Hank Williams is out of his mind to think that ESPN "letting him go" is somehow infringing on his right to free speech. In our country Williams -- or anyone else -- can say whatever the hell they want to say. That does not mean that there won't be professional (or other) consequences as a result of their words.

For example, here at Behemoth University, if I start to make crazy-ass comments about, well, any subject -- the institution is well within it's right to fire me. I'm still allowed to say whatever I'd like to say -- I just need to be prepared for the repercussions of my speech.

But let's look at what he said...

"They're the enemy." Really? Who is? The President? The Vice President? All Democrats? We need specifics here Hank!

"I have always respected the office of the president." But, didn't you just say that 'they' are the enemy? How is that 'respect' for the Office of the President? You can't have it both ways buddy.

"I am very sorry if it offended anyone." Ah, the non-apology apology. Nice touch.

Finally, what astounds me the most is this idea that the President (a Democrat) and the Speaker of the House (a Republican) can never get along because, "They're polar opposites and it made no sense. They don't see eye-to-eye and never will." This logic is, well... it's just dumb.

Our nation was founded on compromise. To get anything done in Washington, D.C. (or in any state or local government for that matter) lawmakers and political leaders need to be flexible to the idea of compromise -- or nothing will ever get done.

Just because two people (or parties) have differing viewpoints on a host of issues does not mean that they cannot come to some kind of resolution. Putting aside differences for the common good is a fundamental tenet of any relationship.

So Hank, if you have real criticisms of the President (or Vice President, or whomever), maybe you should frame your arguments a little bit more coherently. Equating someone to Hitler? Not very coherent. It is the political equivalent to a child sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming "LA LA LA LA... I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

Photo: John Raoux/AP photo