Hank Williams Jr.'s song won't return to 'Monday Night Football'


The country singer and ESPN each took credit for the decision Thursday morning to pull his classic intro.

ESPN had yanked the song opener for Monday night's game after Williams compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler during an interview that morning on Fox News.

"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," the singer said in a statement posted on his website Thursday.

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

Spokesman Kirt Webster said Williams made the decision Wednesday night, while the network said it informed Williams of the move Thursday morning.

During an appearance on "Fox & Friends," said President Barack Obama golfing with House Speaker John Boehner would "be like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu."

Williams was discussing a golf outing Obama and Boehner shared in June. Asked to clarify, Williams said, "They're the enemy," adding that by "they" he meant Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Anchor Gretchen Carlson later said to him, "You used the name of one of the most hated people in all of the world to describe, I think, the president." Williams replied, "Well, that is true. But I'm telling you like it is."

Williams issued a statement Monday night insisting his remarks were misunderstood, then apologized Tuesday.

The song "All My Rowdy Friends," which features the line "Are you ready for some football?," has been the "Monday Night Football" theme on ABC and ESPN since 1991. The lyrics were changed each week to reflect the night's game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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