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After the singer compared President Obama to Hitler on Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends last Monday, he came under fire for his analogy, and ESPN announced it was yanking Williams’ “All My Rowdy Friends” as MNF’s opening song.
“Well, I quit,” he responded. “When they pulled that Monday night, I called my manager and said, ‘You can tell ESPN, adios.'”
Williams admits that he understands “perfectly” why using Hitler in an analogy caused an uproar, but still think it was blown out of proportion and that he has the right to speak his mind.
“There’s a thing that came out on Politico, and they said, ‘Isn’t this stupid? This whole thing? And how this whole thing [his song being used as MNF’s opener] is gone because of that?’ … That made me feel really good.”
In fact, Williams credits the move to a burst of creativity. In the past week, he wrote and recorded a song titled “Keep the Change,” which Williams says has been downloaded more than 120,000 times at hankjr.com, where it is available for free, and is being made available on iTunes.
“I really feel more alive in the past eight days,” he says. “A lot of things happened. This song hit me. We recorded it in a matter of hours.”
Williams recently told the Associated Press that he wrote the song’s topical third verse when he woke up Friday morning and he and a group of players laid it down in a Nashville studio by Friday afternoon.
In the song, Williams says the Fox & Friends hosts twisted his words: “So Fox ‘n Friends wanna put me down/Ask for my opinion/Twist it all around.” He finishes the verse: “Well two can play that gotcha game you’ll see.”
On the morning program last Monday, Williams likened Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s recent golf outing with Obama to “Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.”
ESPN pulled “All My Rowdy Friends” from MNF that night and three days later said it was parting ways with the singer for good.
“We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams Jr.,” the network said. “We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue.”
But Williams fired back on his website, saying it was his decision.
“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision,” he wrote on his website. “By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, [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.”
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