It’s almost impossible to hear Hank Williams Jr. and not connect him to the Monday night football theme song. But football and Williams have had a tumultuous past.
Maybe that’s because Williams doesn’t side step around the love for his country or his patriotism, even it if costs him a gig or two.
We’ve seen and heard a lot of debate and banter about the controversial protesting by NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem at the start of football games over the last year.
But in a new song released by Williams, it’s clear there is no need to mince words. He comes straight out of the chute and refers to his past Monday night football anthem that primed football season enthusiasts for years.
“Oh, how we all love Monday night / When my song is done everyone’s so pumped and hyped,” he sings in the opening lyrics. “Some won’t stand for the anthem and that’s their right / Well, freedom isn’t free / Our military means our liberty / So if you’re gonna take a knee take a hike.”
“So get behind the stars and strips / Or just get the hell out and quit your gripes / So you gotta long list of things that you don’t like / Well please do us a favor / All you America haters / If you’re gonna take a knee take a hike.”
Williams is right in that the NFL did see a ratings dip as the controversy continued. And he suggests a remedy to the situation by replacing current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with Condoleezza Rice who has often said publicly that her dream job would be to head up the NFL.
“I’m afraid the NFL means not-for-long / If they don’t find a fix for what’s goin’ on / How about a new boss like Condoleezza Rice / Just say please do us a favor / All you America haters / If you’re gonna take a knee take a hike”
Starting this season off right, President Trump tweeted to remind NFL athletes that America has not forgotten their stance on honoring the anthem and their behavior might be a reflection of future ratings.
Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2018
There seems to have always been controversy between Williams and Football where his patriotism was concerned.
In June of 2017, USA Today reported that ESPN was bringing back Williams and his “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” version of the Monday night football opener. ESPN dropped him in 2011 for making anti-Obama administration comments relating to a golf outing between then-Republican House Speaker John Boehner and then-President Barack Obama. He later made further comments on “Fox & Friends” and that was more than ESPN could handle. That’s when the relationship between the two ended.
Prior to the start of the 2018 football season, ESPN had announced that it would not be broadcasting the national anthem as reported by Fox News.
“We generally have not broadcasted the anthem and I don’t think there’s going to be any change this year. Our plan going into this year is to not broadcast the anthem,” ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said.
Williams is well known for a patriotic theme in his music and his support of our military. In 2013 he was awarded: “the Patriot Award by Operation Troop Aid (OTA), a nonprofit organization which supports deployed U.S. troops,” reported Taste of Country.
“The prestigious trophy is presented annually by OTA to celebrities that champion the men and women serving in the American Armed Forces, and the southern rock and country legend has given his share of service. Well-known for his role as an American Patriot, Williams, Jr. has performed at various military bases and continues to meet military personnel at every concert appearance. Plus, the ‘Family Tradition’ singer has participated in countless endeavors to support troops overseas and at local hospitals, and for supporting numerous military charities.”
While it appears Williams is still featured in the ESPN Monday night football opener, I think I prefer to watch his latest video release.
And I’d like to see the NFL come out stronger with a no-kneeling policy during the anthem rather than just avoiding the situation by not broadcasting the disrespect by its players.
I get the feeling that Williams would agree with me, too.