Last week, ESPN decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr., after his ill-fated Monday morning appearance on FOX & Friends.
This Monday, ESPN VP/Communications Mike Soltys met with SportsBusiness Daily to discuss the decision.
“Nobody really noted it,” Soltys said of the comments, including a comparison of the golf outing between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner to Hitler golfing with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Huffington Post then pulled the video several hours later. That’s when we became aware of it. That was when the Twitterverse became aware of it. It just exploded from there. It’s a good example of how issues today evolve that didn’t happen in the past.”
Soltys is right. ESPN’s Rush Limbaugh controversy simmered for two days in 2003; the lag in 2011 would be maybe two seconds. And Hank’s notorious (and alleged) “I’m Hank Williams, Jr. bitch!” episode from 2006 largely went unnoticed in the pre-Twitter Internet.
It would have been nice to see Soltys compare and contrast Hank’s remarks to the allegation of violence against a woman in Memphis more than five years ago, but he wasn’t asked that question. Probably because, even today, not many people know about alleged actions from Hank that were far more troubling than his goofy comments from last Monday.