In 2018, Hank Williams Jr. dropped “Take A Knee, Take A Hike” overnight without saying a word, and it had fans in a frenzy. He quietly released the song on his official YouTube channel, and he didn’t mention a word anywhere on social media until the video had already gotten thousands of views – letting the lyrics speak for him.

The song that features traditional country feel with an outlaw twist brought to life with fiddle and steel guitar instrumentals is the singer’s way of weighing in on National Football League (NFL) players protesting on the field.

Williams Jr. started the song with reference to his own gig, providing the opening theme song for Monday Night Football. “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 song goes.

The Store Behind “Take A Knee, Take A Hike”

The flap over the NFL protests started in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, became the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem. Kaepernick protests against social injustice, particularly shootings of unarmed black men and police relations with minority communities. Since then, about two hundred other players have joined him in taking a knee during the national anthem. The protests have bitterly stoked partisan political and social debates, with President Donald Trump weighing in against the protesters quite a few times.

Another country star who reacted in public to the NFL protests was Neal McCoy. He released a song titled, “Take a Knee … My Ass!” in 2017. John Rich also made it to the headlines in 2018 when he turned to social media to completely 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.

Williams is no longer a stranger when it comes to controversy revolving around football and politics. In 2011, Monday Night Football pulled his popular musical introduction from the airwaves after his ESPN interview in which he compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler. He came back to the show opener six years later.

Listen to Hank Williams Jr.’s controversial song “Take A Knee, Take A Hike” in the video below.