Hank Williams claims ESPN has stomped all over his First Amendment rights after the sports network fired him for comparing President Barack Obama to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
According to ESPN, Hank Williams Jr. and his iconic theme song will not return to its "Monday Night Football" broadcasts.
The network continued: "In the wake of Williams using an analogy involving Adolf Hitler and President Barack Obama to make a political point on the Fox News Channel, Williams' 'All My Rowdy Friends' will no longer be part of the MNF opening."
It continued: "We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, we appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue."
For his part, Williams claimed on his website that he was not fired, but, instead, decided to quit:
"AFTER ESPN SUSPENDS HANK JR. FOR ONE-WEEK, HANK JR. DECIDES TO PULL HIS SONG FROM BEING USED ON ESPN FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON," the website said in block letters.
The statement continued: "After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. By pulling my opening Oct 3, 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. – Hank Williams Jr."
Today's development comes three days after the country singer appeared on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" and offered his assessment of President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner playing gulf together in a symbolic gesture of working across the political aisle.
"That would be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu. Not hardly. In the shape this country is in?" commented Williams.
After "Fox and Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade said he did not understand what Williams meant, the singer responded, "I'm glad you don't brother, because a lot of people do. They're the enemy."
Kilmeade asked who was the enemy and Williams responded, “Obama! And Biden! Are you kidding? The Three Stooges."
ESPN then decided to pull Williams from his high-profile weekly appearance during the opening theme of Monday night football. The network issued the following statement at the time:
"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."
Late Monday, TMZ published a statement by Williams in which he asserted that he was misunderstood.
"Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood. My analogy was extreme – but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me - how ludicrous that pairing was," Williams said.
He added, "They’re polar opposites and it made no sense. They don't see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the president."