The decision made by ESPN to pull the iconic Hank Williams Jr. intro to Monday Night Football following the entertainer's controversial remarks created a heated debate in regards to Williams's freedom of speech, and ESPN's right as a business to protect their brand. As the dust has begun to settle, Williams's replacement for Monday's Bears/Lions matchup will be (drum roll): Hall of Fame Running Back Barry Sanders. Sanders announced on Twitter Thursday that he would be participating in the broadcast:
Williams has asked America "are you ready for some football?" every Monday night during the NFL season since 1989. It appears that the format will go with a former player of the home team from week to week introducing the broadcast. ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz told the Detroit Free Press; "This is the format we'll likely use the remainder of the season. We haven't made any decisions beyond that."
Yahoo Sports writes that Sanders will not be singing a country music song, but will "be featured in some other form of video segment that previews the game."
Williams's negative comments in regards to President Obama on Fox News last week, has led critics like Bomani Jones to say that Williams has "attached himself" to politics that many people find "offensive" and "extreme."
"Many people" may not include the majority of NFL owners, players and executives.
A new study released Friday by the Center for Responsive Politics found that people affiliated with NFL teams gave 67 percent of their money to Republicans and just 29 percent to Democrats in the years that President Obama has been in office.