ESPN no longer "Ready For Some Football!" after 22 years

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Country singer Hank Williams JR greets the crowd during a game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium on September 12, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

See, here's the problem with making any comparison. When you compare someone to someone else, you're comparing only their strongest attributes. For instance, you would never compare Al Roker to Al Harrington, just because they're both black and have the same name. They share almost nothing in common. Al Roker is a TV weatherman and Al Harrington is a basketball player. Any similarities they may have are trumped by the obvious fact that they're totally different people.

So when Hank Williams Jr. made the mistake of comparing Barack Obama to Hitler, he did it thinking it was a harmless analogy. Unfortunately, Hitler's strongest defining element wasn't that he was corrupt or a bad ruler, it's that he was a deranged psychopath who pushed the genocide of six million Jews. It's the reason 99% of Hitler analogies are ridiculous; say what you want about Obama, but he isn't evil. Adolph Hitler on the other hand: plain EEEEVVVIIIILLLLL. Killed lots of people. Put people in death camps. You don't compare someone to Hitler because they're both German, or because they may both have black hair or a silly mustache. You do it because you plain don't like them.

In the same analogy, Williams said Obama playing golf with Republican congressman John Boehner was like Hitler playing with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, while also saying that Obama and Joe Biden are "the enemy." Comparing someone to Hitler is a mistake in itself, but making the other side Jewish pretty clearly defines what his politics are, regardless of the fact that he said he "respects the office of the President" in a statement.

And now, after being a part of Monday Night Football's introduction since 1989, back when it was on ABC, Hank Williams' song "All My Rowdy Friends are Here on Monday Night" has been canceled. Never again will it lead off the final NFL game of the week. Never again will MNF lead off with the phrase: "Are you ready for some football!"

Was it a dumb statement? Sure. Was it worth rupturing what little tradition Monday Night Football retained in its move from ABC to ESPN to get his song off the air? I'm not so sure about that. As a person of the Jewish persuasion, if you will, I'm not particularly fond of any Hitler references, as you might imagine. I'm also not a fan of people paying the rest of their life for a verbal gaffe, no matter how reprehensible it may be. ESPN's objective should be to make sure it never happens again, but that doesn't mean Williams had to be "fired" -- he wasn't actually an employee for them, but you know what I mean. If he had profusely apologized and vowed to speak at high schools or something, it wouldn't have been the end of the world had his song come back in five weeks or something.

Of course, that's just my opinion. Williams' "apology" didn't ring sincere, as the phrase "if I offended anyone" never sounds as good as just saying, "Hey, I made a really, really dumb mistake. It'll never happen again. I deserve whatever punishment I'm given." Oh well. Williams makes his money as a country music player anyway, so it's not like he'll starve. I'm just not a fan of when giant corporations make morality plays that have very little to do with ethics and everything to do with marketability. After all, ESPN has no trouble putting Bob Knight on the air, someone who once told Connie Chung of NBC, "I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it," a statement that would easily get him fired if he said it today.

Knight, of course, was smart enough to get his dumb statements out of the way before he was actually on television. Williams wasn't so fortunate.

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