Garth Brooks announced on Wednesday that he is removing himself from all future Entertainer of the Year nominations at the CMA Awards, having won the honor seven times throughout his career. "[The Country Music Association] came back and said, 'It's not our call. We cannot pull you out of our awards,'" Brooks told PopCulture.com and other media. "So today we sit here and humbly ask with all the gratefulness and love in the world, we are going to do it ourselves. We're going to pull ourselves out of Entertainer of the Year."
The country icon shared that he had floated of the idea of being named Entertainer of the Year Emeritus, but explained that the CMA Awards "can't just create" a new title. He also revealed that he began formulating the decision after last year's ceremony, which saw Brooks win EOTY for the seventh time. The win was somewhat of a controversial one, and Brooks said that one specific tweet he saw after the fact got stuck in his head. "Hey man, this guy, why doesn't he step down and just have the entertainer be for the next generation?" the tweet read.
"100 percent agreed," Brooks said. "So with all the love in the world, all the great fun, because the last thing I want to do is seem ungrateful to the CMAs and everybody that has voted for us. We are officially pulling ourselves out of Entertainer of the Year. And my number is seven, you guys know that. And we feel very lucky with seven. And it's time for somebody else to hold that award, know what that Entertainer feels like. Because they're all out there busting their butts."
The 58-year-old recalled early in his career when he was hoping to win the award for the first time, sharing that he wants other artists to be able to have that experience. "It was yesterday when I was praying, 'Can we get nominated for Entertainer of the Year?' I know that," he said. "That feeling is so great, so wonderful that I want everybody to feel that feeling. It's a great responsibility and it matures you as an artist," he said. "I've been lucky enough to hold that award and now it's time to go on."
Brooks clarified that he is "very competitive" and will continue to accept nominations in other categories. "It's just with Entertainer, we've been lucky enough to carry that home a number of times and feel like it's somebody else's turn," he said.
"Hopefully this way nobody gets any spaces taken, and so it's trying with all the love in the world to do something that I think is the right time to do it now," he added. "It feels great. I feel very grateful. And for 25 years, every year, you get to be the Entertainer of the Year. So it's been pretty sweet."