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Williams apologizes for Hitler-Obama analogy

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    CORRECTS COLTS' OPPONENT - FILE - In this July 14, 2011, file photo, Hank Williams Jr. performs during the recording of a promo for ESPN's broadcasts of "Monday Night Football," in Winter Park, Fla. ESPN is pulling Williams' classic intro song from its broadcast of Monday night's NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the country singer famous for the line "Are you ready for some football?" used an analogy to Adolf Hitler in discussing President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
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Hank Williams Jr. is apologizing for using an analogy to Adolf Hitler in discussing President Barack Obama that prompted ESPN to pull his classic intro song to "Monday Night Football."

Williams said in a statement posted on Facebook and his website Tuesday that his passion for politics and sports "got the best or worst of me."

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.

Williams backed off Tuesday.

"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 said. "I am very sorry if it offended anyone."

ESPN had no further comment. It is not known if the intro, synonymous with "Monday Night Football" since 1989, would be used again.

In a statement Monday night, ESPN said: "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."

ESPN covered the story during "SportsCenter" and the pregame show but did not mention the song’s absence at the start of the game telecast when fans would normally be hearing "Are you ready for some football?" Instead of a music video, viewers just saw clips of both teams and heard a voice-over about the matchup.

The song "All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night" is a remixed version of his 1984 hit "All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight." The version won Williams four Emmy Awards in the early 1990s as the opening theme to "Monday Night Football," then on ABC.

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