Embattled country singer Hank Williams, JR. has hit back at reports suggesting TV network chiefs at U.S. sports channel Espn have permanently axed his anthem Are You Ready For Some Football? from broadcasts, insisting he withdrew the track himself.
The Republican Party supporter's song was pulled from its weekly slot at the beginning of sports show Monday Night Football on on Monday (03Oct11), hours after he slammed U.S. President Barack Obama and compared the leader to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler during a breakfast TV interview.
He subsequently apologised for his comments, but reports suggest Espn bosses were not impressed and on Thursday (06Oct11) they announced Williams, Jr.'s song had been dropped for good.
A network rep said, "We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue."
However, Williams, Jr. is adamant the decision was his alone, claiming he took the track off air because he was furious with Espn chiefs for scrapping the tune in the first place.
In a statement, he says, "After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision.
"By pulling my opening October 3rd, You (Espn executives) 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."