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SBD/October 7, 2011/Media
Columnists Weigh In On ESPN's Decision To Cut Hank Williams Jr. From "MNF"
Published October 7, 2011
MAKING THE RIGHT MOVE: ESPN's Bomani Jones, who appeared Thursday in a memorable "Outside The Lines" segment related to the Williams controversy, wrote on his personal blog he believes ESPN "made the right call" in dropping the country music star. Jones wrote, "I find Hitler references distasteful, but I also debate whether they should be fireable. I know, however, that they are fireable. Full-time employees might get suspended, but part-timers get fired. That's not just ESPN. That's the world, and this is where that part of the discussion should end" (BOMANIJONES.com, 10/6). However, in L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes, “It's only because of its erratic track record in the punishment department, likely determined by Disney shareholders, that we can't be sure week to week how someone like Williams could be justly treated without letting emotions cloud things” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/7). Meanwhile, USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes “both sides win” with the decision. ESPN’s “payoff is its biggest buzz in years,” and Williams has gotten the same effect. Williams is “now a victim” and a “sort of rebel.” “MNF” should have been “happy to hold the door” for Williams, as a show “built on novelty ... has become just another NFL game.” ESPN now can “pick somebody new to open ‘MNF’ and get to hype it, like it’s really a big deal” (USA TODAY, 10/7).
MANIC MONDAYS: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley writes, “Telling Hank to take his Hitler analogies, along with his trenchant political analysis, and hit the dusty trail was the easy part. Now the hard part -- restoring ‘Monday Night Football’ to its place as the destination of choice for National Football League fans in prime-time television, or at least slowing the rate of its descent, its standing, its clout and its relevance. Hasn’t the caché of ‘Monday Night Football’ migrated to the upstart ‘Sunday Night Football’ on NBC? Isn’t Sunday night, not Monday night, the real appointment event now for television viewers of NFL football in prime time?” (JSONLINE.com, 10/6).