By Rickey Hampton, Editor and Founder of The African-American Athlete
Out of all of the musicians in the world to choose from, how in the hell did ESPN think it would be a good idea to bring back a bigot to sing the opening to its signature Monday Night Football series?
You may remember that in 2011 Hank Williams _ famous for his “Are You Ready For Some Football” opening _ lost his job as the musical performer for the opening of MNF because of his attacks on President Barack Obama. He compared Mr. Obama to Hitler during an interview on … you will be stunned by this : Fox and Friends.
Williams said a golf outing between then House Speaker John Boehner and Mr. Obama was like “Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”
It was simply ignorant, tasteless, and tacky. Folks let ESPN know about it, too.
The backlash cost Williams his job. There were arguments about his civil rights being violated. But his civil rights were never compromised. He was free to make a bigoted statement, and ESPN was free to no longer require his services.
Now, the hiatus is over. His non-singing ass will be back on the job this fall. It was announced the other day that Williams would be returning as the opening act to Monday Night Football, the NFL’s showcase game of the week.
This is what Stephanie Druley, the ESPN senior VP of events and studio production, told the Tennessean: “I’m sure there’ll be some [criticism], but I’m not concerned. It was the right time,” she told a reporter. “We discussed it internally, and it was just the right time to bring him back.
“I think it’s a return to our past in that it’s such an iconic song associated with football,” she added.
Yes, but what is the past you are talking about, 1950? Why not hire Ted Nugent to play backup? He will feel right at home with the bigotry of Williams.
Does ESPN not know about this man? He is a racist and a homophobe. Check out the review of one of his concerts by the Dallas Observer
While Williams is back with ESPN _ which I assure you could never be done without the blessing of the NFL _ former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still without a team.
And we all know it is not because of Kaepernick’s lack of talent. He is one of the better QBs in the league. He is not getting work because of his decision to silently protest the playing of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ last season.
So, apparently, it is OK for someone to disrespect the President of the United States, mock blacks, and attack the gay community. However, if you take a knee during the playing of the American flag, that’s your ass.
The hiring of Williams, and the rejection of Kaepernick, clearly illustrates how the National Football League feels about a certain segment of its players and fan base.
In turn, the fan base needs to show the NFL how it feels by not showing up, not watching and not doing business with those advertiser who associate their product with Williams.