American Morning

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October 7th, 2011
04:26 AM ET

Talk Back: Was ESPN right to part ways with Hank Williams Junior?

From CNN's Carol Costello:

Yesterday, ESPN announced that it has severed its relationship with singer Hank Williams Jr. after Williams compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler, a remark that prompted controversy and resulted in "Monday Night Football" pulling his popular musical introduction from this week's game.

On his website, Williams claims that it was his decision to leave the network, writing that ESPN "stepped on the toes of the First Amendment," so "me, my song, and all my rowdy friends are out of here."

Whoopi Goldberg defended Williams' freedom of speech on "The View," saying, "He's a musician. Musicians always do provocative things, and think of all the football players and all the musicians that have taken a misstep or done something. What kind of standards are we holding folks to when we say oh no, that's not a good thing to be so instead, we pull. Is that the right thing?"

Talk Back: Was ESPN right to part ways with Hank Williams Junior?

Let us know what you think. Your answer may be read on this morning's broadcast.

Filed under: AM Talk Back
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Doris

    Yes, would you want someone like this Hank Williams representing your organization. ESPN was probably waiting for the right opportunity to get rid of him. Someone else might have said the same thing and it might have passed. It was not only what he said, but the way he said it.

    Hank Williams is a loud mouth, offensive "Yahooo!".

    October 7, 2011 at 7:36 am |
  2. Donald Hayes

    Yes, they were absolutely right. Freedom of speech should not allow people to publicly make any stupid statement that comes to their minds. I think one other step should have been taken as well. Fox news should be shut down. They encourage these types of ludicrous remarks.

    October 7, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  3. Christopher van Gelder

    People on the Right Call Obama Hitler. And 4 years ago People were ranting and raving about how Bush was Hitler. Seems that the only thing you can agree upon is that Hitler was bad but nothing past that...

    October 7, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  4. Mark Fletcher

    Hank Williams Jr. has every right to voice his opinions and thoughts. Freedom of speech is one of our fundamental rights in America. However, one must realize that while speech is protected from prosecution and imprisonment, the first amendment does not guarantee freedom from consequences of such speech. Any organization also has a right to separate itself from individuals and organizations that voice opinions that are contrary to what they wish to project to the public. We seem to be living in a time when people mistakenly think the first amendment grants them protection from any consequences of their free speech. Words are a powerful thing and people need to choose them wisely.

    October 7, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  5. Valerie A. Dawson

    Hitler was a monster that killed millions of innocent people. To compare our President and Vice President to Hitler is not only tasteless it is a stupid remark being made by a classless bigot. Hooray for ESPN.

    October 7, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  6. kelly

    Yes Absolutely!! He may have the right to say it but that right doesn't guarantee you no consiquences for saying it. ESPN also has the freedom to fire him for his ugly comments. There is a difference between Free Speech and Hate Speech and I for one am tired of hearing the latter from the disgraceful people on the right!!

    October 7, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  7. Peter

    The firing of Hank Williams Jr. was appropriate not because of the comments he made on Fox but because his signature NFL opening is getting tired and needs new blood. Are you ready for some fresh?

    October 7, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  8. fmmcmillan

    NO. ESPN should pull itself. MNF has been going downhill since it moved from ABC. It just went a little farther down...

    October 7, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  9. Dan, Stewartstown, PA

    In my opinion, if ESPN had not yanked Hank Williams Jr's. opening from Monday Night Football's opening, they would have been perpetuating the Ugly American stereotype overseas, when America can use all of the international goodwill and cooperation that we can get. Domesticly, his thoughtless and provocative words would only serve to widen the already huge political divide that has rendered our Congress ineffective. Put in words HWJr. could understand, they should have thrown the bum out.

    October 7, 2011 at 6:08 am |