Though ESPN’s decision to yank Hank Williams, Jr. from the opening theme music to Monday Night Football initially seemed to be a one-week suspension, it’s a little more permanent than that.
OK, it’s a lot more permanent than that.
ESPN has parted ways with Williams. The network announced the decision on Thursday, via John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal.
“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."
Hank, of course, sees it differently. He claims that he has pulled his song from the show. Says Hank on his website: “After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. 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.”
Um, right. Hank apologized on Tuesday in the hopes of keeping the only thing that has kept him relevant for the last 25 years. And now that he’s being pushed, he’s trying to make it look like he jumped.
The sad part is that plenty of people will believe that Hank wasn’t fired, and that he actually did quit.