Six years after Hank Williams Jr. was fired from Monday Night Football for making insulting comments about President Barack Obama, ESPN is bringing him back. The return of Williams will take place on the 2017 NFL premiere of Monday Night Football when the New Orleans Saints play the Minnesota Vikings.
The announcement came through ESPN, which broadcasts the Monday Night Football games. Despite all the controversies surrounding celebrities insulting President Donald Trump, it seems all is forgiven with those who did the same with the prior president.
Stephanie Druley, the ESPN senior vice president of events and studio production, said that they are returning to the past and that the Hank Williams Jr. song “All My Rowdy Friends” belongs to Monday Night Football. She said the network was trying to get back to being a Monday night party.
The original termination of Hank Williams Jr. was called permanent when ESPN cut ties with the country singer. The reason for the termination was because Williams compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler.
In the statement made while appearing on the television series Fox and Friends, Hank said that President Obama and Republican House Speaker John A. Boehner golfing together was like “Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu,” referring to the Israeli prime minister.
When asked to clarify his statement, Williams said it was because President Obama and Vice President Biden were “the enemy” and called them “The Three Stooges.” Hank later said that his analogy was “extreme” but he just meant the two were polar opposites and never will see eye to eye. He then claimed he respected the office of the president.
Hank Williams Jr. was one of a number of celebrities who spoke out about President Obama while he was in office. In a concert back in 2007, Ted Nugent stood with two machine guns and yelled that Obama should “suck on my machine gun” and that Hillary should ride one into the sunset.
It looks like things are being forgiven. Ted Nugent was invited by President Donald Trump to the White House after his inauguration along with fellow Republican singer Kid Rock. Now, Hank Williams Jr. seems to have remained on the sidelines long enough to warrant an invitation back into the mainstream.
Interestingly, ESPN continued to use the Hank Williams Jr. song even when they cut ties with the country singer. Carrie Underwood, who is extremely popular with the audience demographic who is watching Monday Night Football now, has been singing the song to introduce the shows. However, ESPN choosing to bring back Williams sends interesting messages.
Forbes reports that ESPN was the No. 1 cable network for people aged 18-34 and people aged 18-49. Even during the 2016 Presidential Election, ESPN still ranked No. 2 after only Fox News among households. With such great numbers, Forbes suggested that nostalgia for the Hank Williams Jr. song, as sang by Williams, is worth taking a chance on despite any potential backlash.
Interestingly, this comes just a week after Kathy Griffin cost herself endorsement deals, concert dates, and more when she posted a photo of her holding a fake decapitated head of Donald Trump. That controversy brought up comparisons to Ted Nugent and his machine gun rant but Nugent said that they were different.
Nugent said in a recent interview that he never threatened President Obama and he was just making a general statement. He even said the Secret Service ruled it was no threat but Griffin’s joke was a threat. Hank Williams Jr. also defended his statements as just his freedom of speech.
A new video for the new version of the Hank Williams Jr. Monday Night Football version of “All My Rowdy Friends” was shot on Sunday in Nashville. Williams said he hopes it will make people happy on Monday night again and he feels satisfied in his return.
[Featured Image by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images]