ESPN has dropped Hank Williams Jr. as the opening intro to Monday Night Football, following remarks he made on Fox News that compared President Obama to Hitler.
Williams has opened "MNF" since the mid-1980s with variations on his hit song "All My Rowdy Friends." Appearing on Monday's "Fox and Friends," Williams said Obama and House Speaker John Boehner playing golf together in June was a huge political mistake, "like Hitler playing with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu. Not hardly."
ESPN released a statement, saying in part, "We are extremely disappointed with his comments and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight's telecast." There's no word yet as to whether the move is permanent.
Conservative political commentator Erick Erickson of CNN once told me in an interview that anyone who plays "the Hitler card" in an argument automatically loses the argument, because it's such an extreme comparison to make. In my opinion, it was kind of a silly argument of Williams to make, detracting from his overall point that it was "ludicrous" for the two men -- political polar opposites -- to play golf together because of their political disconnect.
Williams, of course, has the right to say whatever he wants, and ESPN -- a private company -- has the right to change its broadcast however it wants.
But to me, the whole thing seems pretty silly. I mean, do people sit on the edge of their seats waiting for Hank Williams' take on the politics of the day? Didn't ESPN draw more attention to his comments by dropping him rather than just letting the thing blow over?
Honestly, I didn't see the Fox thing nor did I hear about it until ESPN took action. I can't say I've ever much been interested in Hank Williams' opinion on most matters.
People seem to go out of their way to find controversy in every little thing that's thrown out there -- political correctness run amuck. I mean, who cares? Whether you support Obama or the Tea Party, ESPN not playing its regular Monday night intro is not going to have any impact on whom voters choose or the course of the country in general.
But I do have to agree with Erickson on his point -- try to play another card before playing the Hitler comparison card.
TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: "Sons of Anarchy" (FX, 10 p.m.) is putting together perhaps its strongest season yet, which is saying something. I like the additions of Ray McKinnon, Danny Trejo and Rockmond Dunbar to the show.
CBS' lineup is all new, with Lily Tomlin doing a guest spot on "NCIS" at 8 p.m., followed by "NCIS: LA" and "Unforgettable."
ABC has more "Dancing With The Stars," followed by "Body of Proof" at 10 p.m.
There's a new "Parenthood" (NBC, 10 p.m.) following "The Biggest Loser," while The CW has new episodes of "90210" and "Ringer" from 8-10 p.m.
Finally, "New Girl" (Fox, 9 p.m.) is the first new show of the season to get a full-season order. It follows a new "Glee" and precedes a new "Raising Hope."