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After officially dumping Hank Williams Jr. on Thursday over his controversial statements about President Obama, ESPN has found his replacement for the Monday Night Football intro: former NFL football player Barry Sanders.
Sanders, who played for the Detroit Lions from 1989-98, will be featured in a video segment that previews Monday’s (Oct. 10) football game. Sanders tweeted, “Ok, I admit it. I will be at MNF this week and doing the intro.”
An ESPN spokesperson said to THR that it is unlikely to create a new song for the remainder of the season.
On Thursday, ESPN said in a statement announcing Williams Jr.’s ouster, “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 Jr.’s song “All My Rowdy Friends” had been used to open MNF since 1991 on ABC and ESPN.
Prior to the decision to cut Williams Jr. permanently, ESPN said on Monday (Oct. 3) ahead of its MNF telecast, “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.”
That morning, the country singer had said in an interview that Speaker of the House John Boehner‘s golf game with Obama was “one of the biggest political mistakes ever.”
“It’s like Hitler playing golf with [Israel Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Williams Jr. said.
“You used the name of one of the most hated people in all the world to describe, I think, the president,” interviewer Gretchen Carlson clarified.
“That’s true,” he said, “but I’m telling you like it is.”
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