At a time when some are criticizing ESPN for being too political (though that’s largely just a euphemism for letting non-white people and women talk), they’re bring back a guy whose political commentary cost him a gig in the first place.
According to Cindy Watts of USA Today, the network is bringing former country star Hank Williams Jr. back to their Monday Night Football broadcast.
It’s been six years since they parted ways with him, after Williams called then-Republican House Speaker John Boehner playing golf with then-President Barack Obama “one of the biggest political mistakes ever.”
“It would be like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli leader] Benjamin Netanyahu,” he then explained on Fox News’ Fox & Friends. He also referred to Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden as “the enemy.”
(Note to aspiring writers, artists and public speakers: If you’re ever thinking about making the Hitler reference, don’t. No, really. Just don’t. Ever. No, seriously. It never works out for you. Never. You’re welcome.)
But ESPN figures enough time has passed (and the political climate has changed) such that Williams and his rowdy friends should be more welcome now.
“I’m sure there’ll be some [backlash], but I’m not concerned,”said Stephanie Druley, ESPN’s senior vice president of events and studio production. “It was the right time. We discussed it internally and it was just the right time to bring him back.”
Of course, it comes at a time when the network is laying off long-time NFL talent, losing reporters such as John Clayton and Ed Werder (among many others), which may make some wonder if they’re ready for some football or not.