Posted by Mike Florio on October 4, 2011, 5:26 PM EDT
The latest AP item regarding the unlikely Hank Williams, Jr. Monday Night Football controversy focuses primarily on an apology posted on his website by the singer known for some reason as Bocephus, but there’s a little more to the story. Though the AP characterizes Hank as “back[ing] off,” Williams displayed earlier in the day a hint of defiance in the face of ESPN’s decision to bench him for a week, possibly longer, after Williams said Monday on FOX News that the decision of President Obama to golf with House Speaker John Boehner was akin to Hitler golfing with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Here’s the full text of the apology, which appears not under the headline of “apology” but “thanks to my supporters”: “I have always been very passionate about Politics and Sports and this time it got the Best or Worst of me. The thought of the Leaders of both Parties Jukin and High Fiven on a Golf course, while so many Families are Struggling to get by simply made me Boil over and make a Dumb statement and I am very Sorry if it Offended anyone. I would like to Thank all my supporters. This was Not written by some Publicist.”
Here’s what Hank posted on his website before apologizing: “Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood. My analogy was extreme — but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me — how ludicrous that pairing was. They’re polar opposites and it made no sense. They don’t see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the President.
“Every time the media brings up the tea party it’s painted as racist and extremists — but there’s never a backlash — no outrage to those comparisons… Working class people are hurting — and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares. When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job — it makes a whole lot of us angry. Something has to change. The policies have to change.”
So it sounds like, earlier today, Hank wasn’t sorry. Then, at some point, he became sorry.
Given that ESPN had yet to decide on whether Hank will be benched for one week or longer (or permanently) it’s possible that the public apology is part of whatever penance ESPN has asked him to perform. The fact that the apology comes after his statement defending what he said makes the apology seem far more perfunctory and forced.
Especially since Hank’s more recent statements don’t address his assertion that Obama is “the enemy.”