Before you read on, let me go ahead and tell you that this is not going to be about the Colts. From time to time there are things that pop up that I feel a need to express my opinion on. Thanks to having this outlet I can.
In case you haven't heard, a staple of the NFL is no longer. After more than two decades of leading off Monday Night Football asking America its favorite question, ESPN has told Hank Williams to take his rowdy friends somewhere else.
If you listen to Hank, he says that he decided to walk away from ESPN since they don't seem to support the first amendment ; the network says it fired him for his inflammatory speech about the President.
The argument here can go both ways. As a private citizen, Hank has the right to say what he wishes. Now his analogy may not have made the most sense at first, but it is still his right to say it. Was it the smartest thing to say? No, but the fact of the matter is that he can compare whomever he wants to whatever he wants if he so pleases.
On the other hand, ESPN has a right to protect itself from actions which they deem as possibly damaging to the show (Monday Night Football), the network, and the ESPN brand. If they don't want to be associated with someone who compares the President of the United States to one of the most hated men that the world has ever seen that is there right.
Now before I go on, I feel like I must preface my comments with a disclaimer. These opinions that you are reading are just that--my opinions. They are not the opinions of the good people at SOTL.com or of the SportsBlog network. They are not meant to reflect on anyone but me; that is it.
This whole mess is ridiculous.
I partially blame Hank for not censoring his comments or clarifying them when he had the chance. Brother, I love your music, I'll miss you at the start of the show, but it was a dumb thing to say. There are a thousand other analogies that you could have used that would have still gotten the point across:
Tom and Jerry; Willie E Coyote and the Roadrunner; Batman and the Joker; Hatfields and McCoys; Yogi Bear and Ranger Rick; Cobra Commander and Duke (G.I. Joe); Boss Hogg and Bo Duke; J.R. and Bobby Ewing; the two chicks that used to always fight on Falcon Crest; Inspector Gadget and the Claw; Superman and Lex Luthor; Rosie O' Donnel and Donald Trump; David Stern and the NBA players
Need I go on?
To end a 20+ year relationship over something as silly as that is beyond ridiculous; it's borderline stupid.
"But he was talking about the President!!!"
So. There are plenty of people who say a lot worse about the man all the time. I'd be willing to bet that if ESPN hadn't blown this whole mess out of proportion, Obama would have probably never heard about it.
That gets me thinking that there is something more to it. This incident is trivial, yet ESPN used it as the basis to end a relationship that started likely before many of the networks current employees were working there. I can't help but think that there was some other lingering issue the network had with Hank, and they used this as the excuse.
Then again, it's not the first time that ESPN has acted according to the wishes of others. A few years ago they had one of the best programs on television called Playmakers, a drama that focused on a core group of players on a fictional pro football team.
The show was awesome, but the NFL and many of its players hated it. They claimed that it wasn't a fair representation of pro football players (star QB that had sex at will but also had a bum shoulder he was nursing, an aging running back that is losing his job to a younger, cockier back who was from the wrong side of the tracks, had no regard for rules, and had a drug problem, a gay player with strong religious beliefs, domestic abuse, kids by numerous mothers, etc).
Really guys? You mean none of you have been accused of murder (Ray Lewis, Rae Carruth)? None of you have killed a man while driving drunk (Donte Stallworth)? None of you have been accused of sexual assault (Ben Roetlisberger)? No drug use? No DWIs? No domestic abuse? (too many to mention).
It was fiction; people know it wasn't real, but since the NFL didn't like the hit show ESPN dropped it.
You have to keep the feelings of your clients in mind when it comes to what you do, but ESPN screwed up by dropping an icon over something like this. Heck, most of the world would have never known had they not made it such a big deal. Will it change anything? No. Would anything have changed had they kept him? No.
This was a pointless, stupid decision. Now, with that being said I just have one question I'd like to put out there:
Anyone know if Sunday Night Football is married to Faith Hill and her little ditty or could they be interested in some rowdy friends perhaps?