Editor's Note: I understand the position taken by ESPN; I am simply here to point out the media hypocrisy. I hope this issue is resolved and Williams' song returned to its appropriate place next Monday.
ESPN, the network that has brought you President Barack Obama’s “March Madness” brackets every year since his inauguration, decided that Hank Williams Jr. went too far.
After 20 years of opening Monday Night Football on ABC or ESPN, Williams’ well-known pigskin-revised rendition of “All My Rowdy Friends” was replaced by The Star Spangled Banner, as performed by "Sister Hazel."
During an interview with Fox News Channel “Fox and Friends” Monday morning, Williams made a comparison that did not sit well with management at the Connecticut based sports network, which is known by many to have an “East-Coast bias” in its reporting and broadcasting.
The Disney / ABC owned network did not take kindly to Williams’ statement 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?"
Told by anchor Brian Kilmeade that he (Kilmeade) didn't understand the analogy, Williams said: "I'm glad you don't, brother, because a lot of people do. They're the enemy." Asked who, Williams said: "Obama. And Biden. Are you kidding? The Three Stooges."
Boehner played golf with Obama in June at the height of the national budget debate in Washington, D.C.
Williams, from Tennessee, has said he would run as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in 2012.
Later in the Fox interview with Williams, anchor Gretchen Carlson told Williams he used the name of one of history's most hated men to describe the President. "Well that's true. But I'm telling you like it is," Williams said.
ESPN issued the following statement regarding their decision to pull Williams’ fan-favorite from their broadcast:
"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."Through his publicist, Williams issued the following statement regarding the situation:
"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."
This is (no pun intended) an interesting position for the sports network, given its lack of condemnation of former Heavyweight Boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson.
Like Williams, Tyson is not an ESPN employee.
Tyson recently made his feelings about former Alaska Governor and Vice-Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin known during an appearance on ESPN radio’s “Gridlock.” When asked about the allegations put forward in an unauthorized biography that Palin had once had an affair with basketball player Glenn Rice (a Black man), Tyson went on an obscene rant [parental advisory] that can be heard here .
In a completely unrelated story, ESPN Paul Azinger was recently reprimanded by ESPN for his Twitter comments regarding President Obama’s golf outings, most specifically his aforementioned outing with Speaker John Boehner during the “Debt Ceiling” talks.
In the wake of Azinger’s social media commentary, ESPN ‘reminded” the golf analyst that his venture into political punditry violated the company’s updated social network policy for on-air talent and reporters. “Paul’s tweet was not consistent with our social media policy, and he has been reminded that political commentary is best left to those in that field,” spokesman Andy Hall said in a statement.
This blogger did an independent search on YouTube for “george w bush espn brackets” and found no worthwhile results. I do not recall the network ever taking interest in the former President’s opinion on March Madness as much as it has requested that of our current President.
To be fair, President Bush is known to be an avid baseball fan, so I did a search for “espn george w bush baseball” and found this interview the network did with Mr. Bush regarding the state of baseball affairs.
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