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Hank Williams, Jr. Leaves ‘Monday Night Football’ — But Who Fired Whom?

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Hank Williams, Jr.‘s two-decade run kicking off ‘Monday Night Football’ has now come to an end. In the wake of the country legend’s controversial comparison of President Obama to Adolph Hitler, ESPN yanked his iconic theme song, set to the tune of ‘All My Rowdy Friends,’ from this week’s broadcast. That left fans wondering if Bocephus was just benched or permanently kicked off the team. ESPN answered that question in a statement released today (Oct. 6):

“We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr. We appreciate his contributions over the past years,” ESPN reports. “The success of ‘Monday Night Football’ has always been about the games, and that will continue.”

But did ESPN fire Hank Jr., or did he quit? The singer insists it was his decision to leave the show. “After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. By pulling my opening Oct. 3rd, you (ESPN) stepped on the toes of the First Amendment freedom of speech, so therefore me, my song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It’s been a great run,” he writes on his website.

The always outspoken Hank’s remarks about the president were made on Monday’s live ‘FOX & Friends‘ broadcast. He went on a rant about President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner’s summer golf game during the height of the national budget debate, saying, “That was one of the biggest political mistakes ever … Come on! That’d be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu!”

Even he admits the analogy was off-base, later issuing an apology … but also defending himself. “I have always been very passionate about politics and sports, and this time it got the best or worst of me,” Hank Jr. wrote on his website. “The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin’ and high fivin’ on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by, simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement. I am very sorry if it offended anyone. I would like to thank all my supporters. This was not written by some publicist.”

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