Hank Williams, Jr. Takes Aim at NFL Protests With ‘Take a Knee, Take a Hike’ [Listen]
Hank Williams, Jr., knows a little something about football, and he's weighing in on NFL players protesting on the field with his new song, "Take a Knee, Take a Hike."
The country legend sounds off about players taking a knee during the national anthem as a form of social protest in the new song, which is wrapped in a musical framework of classic, fiddle-and-steel-soaked traditional country.
Williams begins the song by referring to his own gig providing the opening theme song for Monday Night Football, singing, "Oh how we all love Monday night / When my song is done, everyone's so pumped and high / Some won't stand for the anthem, and that's their right / Well, freedom isn't free / Our military means our liberty / So if you're gonna take a knee, take a hike."
The flap over the NFL protests began in 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustice — in particular, police relations with minority communities and shootings of unarmed black men. Since then, according to Vox, around 200 other players have joined him in taking a knee during the national anthem, and the protests have stoked bitterly partisan political and social debates, with President Trump weighing in against the protesters several times.
Williams is no stranger to controversy centering around football himself; in 2011, he was fired from Monday Night Football after an interview with ESPN in which he appeared to compare President Obama to Hitler. He returned to the show opener in 2017.
Neal McCoy is among the other country stars who have reacted in public to the NFL protests, releasing a song titled, "Take a Knee ... My Ass!" in 2017. John Rich also made headlines in September of 2018 when he turned to social media to roundly criticize Nike after the company featured Kaepernick — who has been a free agent since the flap over the protests — in a new series of ads.
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