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ESPN cuts ties with Hank Williams Jr.; singer claims he quit

10.06.11 at 10:48 am ET

Hank Williams Jr. and all his rowdy friends will no longer be seen on ESPN. (AP)

ESPN announced Thursday that it will no longer use Hank Williams Jr.‘s “All My Rowdy Friends” song as the opener to “Monday Night Football” after 22 seasons. The network pulled the song Monday after Williams made comments earlier in the day comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and calling the president “the enemy.”

On Thursday, ESPN released a statement that read: “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 responded by claiming he was the one who decided to end the relationship, despite the fact that he released an apology Tuesday.

Wrote Williams on his website: “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.”

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