Hank Williams Jr. Doesn’t Quite Get the First Amendment


ESPN will no longer air Hank Williams Jr.’s song at the beginning of Monday Night Football, it was announced today. Will MNF survive? Ha, of course it will. Nobody cares about that song. ESPN could play literally any song in the world before Monday Night Football, and the experience would be just as good. Please just don’t use this song. We can’t take it anymore.

Amusingly enough, both ESPN and Williams took credit for the split. ESPN, in a 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.” Williams, meanwhile, posted this note on his website, once again capitalizing whatever words he felt deserved capitalization.

Williams makes a common mistake here. His “First Amendment Freedom of Speech” was not “stepped on” by ESPN. Williams was and is free to make whatever Hitler analogies he so desires. He can write a new country song called “President Obama Is Just Like Hitler” if he wants to and play it at his next concert. But ESPN isn’t bound by the First Amendment to associate with him. The First Amendment doesn’t protect anyone from the repercussions of their own stupidity.

Hank Jr. reacts to being pulled from ESPN from the Oct 3rd Monday Night game opener. [Hank Williams]
ESPN statement on Hank Williams, Jr. - 10/6/11 [ESPN]