Archive for December, 2009

Paging Dr. Joseph Maroon, Medical Director for Senate Candidate Linda McMahon’s WWE

We still haven’t heard back from Dr. Joseph Maroon of Pittsburgh – the medical director for World Wrestling Entertainment – for comment on the reports here that WWE played fast and loose with the truth in a statement to ESPN about its knowledge of a West Virginia brain institute’s research on the long-term effects of concussions sustained by dead wrestlers Chris Benoit and Andrew “Test” Martin.

(See “EXCLUSIVE: Linda McMahon’s WWE Medical Director Met With Chris Benoit Brain Experts in 2008,” December 14, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/exclusive-linda-mcmahons-wwe-medical-director-met-with-chris-benoit-brain-experts-in-2008/, and “Senate Candidate Linda McMahon’s WWE Lies to ESPN (Part 2),” December 16, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/senate-candidate-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-wwe-lies-to-espn-part-2/.)

Here’s why this matters.

Two thousand nine was the year the story of concussions in the National Football League finally broke through the consciousness of the sports media and public. It took a lot of persistence by a lot of people, most notably Dr. Bennet Omalu. And it took the embarrassment of public Congressional hearings, in this case by the House Judiciary Committee. The NFL has fired the people who ran its internal study of the issue, to give it less of a see-no-evil orientation, and it has changed the standards for recovery and return to action of concussed players. It would be a mistake not to acknowledge these as major steps (just as it would be a mistake not to realize that the pressures of money and a hyper-macho culture make such steps difficult to take).

Dr. Joseph Maroon, a neurologist for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has long been one of the NFL’s leading consultants on brain trauma. (He is also the personal physician of retired pro wrestling great Bruno Sammartino.) So when WWE appointed Maroon as its medical director in 2008 — tasked with overseeing a program of baseline neurological testing of talent and supervising the work of doctors now sent out on the road with wrestlers — the link between the legitimacy of the NFL and the seriousness of WWE in tackling the problem was apparent.

But there may be another link between Maroon’s work for the two organizations, and its interpretation is not kind to the doctor or to WWE’s credibility, especially in light of the dissembling to ESPN.

After our posts two weeks ago, a journalist who has covered the NFL for a quarter of a century emailed me: “WWE’s response to the Andrew Martin story did strike me as similar to the NFL’s early denials of Dr. Omalu’s work.”

Read that clearly: The insider is suggesting that WWE right now is where the NFL was years ago in the concussion-denial cycle.

I, for one, would like to pick up the pace a little bit, since Dr. Maroon, at least, obviously knows better. He also should know better than to allow his good name to be exploited by WWE for political cover in stalling on further measures to protect the health and safety of its talent.

Before 2010 breaks – another year in which, if trends hold, we’ll be getting out the shovels and burying some more young wrestlers – I have an important question for Dr. Maroon. Sir, do you work for the welfare of the athletes you treat? Or for the PR needs of the corporations that pay your bills?

Inquiring minds want to know. And, I suspect, so do the voters in next year’s U.S. Senate Republican primary and general election in Connecticut.

Irv Muchnick

Great Moments in Email, Part 3

“DiRT” (email address “dirt@dirtmound.com”) writes:

“‘U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s husband Vince.’  Really? Did you go to the Geraldo school of journalism?”

I’ve got to admit that DiRT has really nailed me here. How irresponsible of me not to have noted that:

* Linda McMahon is running for county dogcatcher, not United States senator;

* her $50 million campaign war chest is underwritten by accumulated interest from U.S. Savings Bonds, not by her history as co-founder and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment; and

* her secret spouse and business partner is the manager of a homeless shelter.

Irv Muchnick

Muchnick Interview Wednesday on SportsTalkNetwork.com

Irvin Muchnick, author of CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death, will be interviewed Wednesday, December 30, on The FDH Lounge on Sports Talk Network.com (http://sportstalknetwork.com). The interview with host Rick Morris will begin around 9 p.m. Eastern time (6 p.m. Pacific).

Reviews of CHRIS & NANCY can be viewed at these links:

“Great read for anyone who cares about wrestling or is interested in true crime.” – Eric Lyden, Bookgasm.com, http://www.bookgasm.com/reviews/non-fiction/chris-nancy/

“Muchnick provides a great public service in exposing what he describes as the WWE’s ‘Cocktail of Death.’ Now its up to wrestling fans to demand action, or else continue seeing their heroes die early from avoidable deaths, often ending up destitute after enriching the McMahons.” – Randy Shaw, Beyond Chron, http://www.beyondchron.org/articles/_Book_Exposes_Pro_Wrestling_s_Cocktail_of_Death_7522.html

“The latest from Irv Muchnick, who has already authored one of wrestling’s All Time Top Five books with Wrestling Babylon, is hands down the most important wrestling book in years.” — Critic Derek Burgan, http://gumgod.blogspot.com/2009/12/five-wrestling-books-that-you-should.html

“Incredibly well researched … an incredibly valuable resource.” – David Bixenspan, SLAM! Wrestling, http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/Benoit/2009/10/22/11493831.html

“Very few books are ‘good’ and even fewer are ‘important’ – but this book is both.” – Author and blogger Anthony Roberts, http://www.anthonyroberts.co.za/?p=3651

“Muchnick goes where few others care to go.” – Mark Hanzlik, Sacramento News & Review, http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/content?oid=1317548

“Incredible retelling of the tragic story, with all its odd twists and bizarre turns.” – Rich Tate, GeorgiaWrestlingHistory.com, http://gwhforum.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=news&thread=8210

“Muchnick is hell-bent on discovering the essence of the cover-ups.” – Joe Babinsack, WrestlingObserver.com, http://www.f4wonline.com/content/view/10962/

Why Linda McMahon’s WWE Wrestlers Won’t Unionize: The Bret Hart Story

Last night, on USA cable’s Monday Night Raw, Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s husband Vince – the chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment – announced that Bret “The Hitman” Hart would be the guest host of Raw next Monday.

Hart is a retired wrestling legend, and his falling out with the McMahons was about as thorough as it gets. He departed bitterly in 1997. A year and a half later his younger brother, Owen Hart, was killed when his harness failed during a stunt entrance from the rafters at the start of a pay-per-view show. Brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith (“The British Bulldog”), one of the worst of the many steroid abusers in the business, went into cardiac arrest and died in 2002 at age 39, becoming yet another wrestling statistic.

Chris Benoit, of 2007 double murder/suicide infamy, had been trained by patriarch Stu Hart and begun his career with Stampede Wrestling in Western Canada, the Hart family promotion.

Bret Hart retired from wrestling because of the lingering effects of a concussion suffered after he jumped to rival World Championship Wrestling. He later fought back from a paralyzing stroke. He also wrote a rather brilliant autobiography, which became a bestseller in Canada (my review is at http://muchnick.net/hitmanreview.pdf).

In retirement, like so many others, Hart said repeatedly that wrestlers need a union. But he never did much labor organizing when he was a main event star for WWE, which then was an oligopoly and today essentially is a monopoly. And now he’s back, exploiting and being exploited yet again, as part of an “angle.”

I tell Bret Hart’s story not to mock him, but to make the point that what the McMahons’ version of “sports entertainment” needs is not the pipe dream of a union, which will never happen, but toothful regulation by an independent government authority.

On June 29, 2007, Bret Hart and I were both panelists on CNN’s Nancy Grace, talking about the Benoit horror. Hart said steroids had nothing to do with it. I said not so fast. I also said Hart was a “one-man Zelig of death in wrestling.” (The clip is viewable at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXmw7Fmhwgg.)

Not long afterward, Benoit’s toxicology report was released. It showed a testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio of 59-to-1. Folks, that’s 59 times normal and more than ten times outside the boundaries of most mainstream sports steroid testing.

WWE’s assurance that Benoit had “passed” his Wellness Policy drug tests turned out to be another one of its dodges. In fact, his tests had come up positive – obviously – but they were excused by a “therapeutic use exemption.” The logic was as circular as it was self-serving. Benoit’s system had been so messed up by decades of anabolic steroid abuse that he was no longer producing enough male hormones on his own, and was being prescribed off-the-charts quantities of  injectable testosterone. And this just so happened to allow him to maintain the cartoon physique his job demanded.

Irv Muchnick

Hartford Courant Blog Picks Up ‘Vince Fought the Law’ Series

Hartford Courant “CT Confidential” blogger Rick Green just posted an item headlined “SMACKDOWN? Muchnick v. Vince and Linda McMahon.” See http://blogs.courant.com/rick_green/2009/12/smackdown-muchnick-v-vince-and.html.

Linda McMahon’s Husband Vince Fought the Law, and the Law Lost (complete text as a single post)

“Linda McMahon’s Husband Vince Fought the Law, and the Law Lost,” published in seven installments December 21-27, became the most-viewed story in the history of the Wrestling Babylon / Chris & Nancy blog. The complete text of the series is reproduced below as a single article.

Irvin Muchnick

DR. GEORGE ZAHORIAN

In 1994 World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon – husband of Linda McMahon, current Senate candidate in Connecticut and former CEO of WWE – was acquitted  of federal steroid trafficking and conspiracy charges in a sensational trial on Long Island. This seven-part blog series chronicles that episode and surrounding events.

The story begins in 1991, when George Zahorian, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, physician, became the first doctor convicted under the federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which prohibited the prescription of steroids for non-therapeutic purposes.

Throughout the 1980s, Zahorian was the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission-appointed ringside doctor at pro wrestling events in his region of the state. In the early part of the decade, this included the Allentown and Hamburg syndicated television tapings of what was then called the World Wrestling Federation. Zahorian was even fed on-camera roles in several TV story lines (known in wrestling as “angles”).

Dozens of steroid-abusing wrestlers utilized Zahorian, an easy-touch, heavy-duty connection. As the wrestlers lined up for their blood-pressure tests before Zahorian-administered shows in Pennsylvania, they and the doctor openly exchanged cash for bags of drugs. Federal investigators produced voluminous FedEx records of shipments from Zahorian’s office to WWF performers. At the trial, several of these wrestlers confirmed that their shipments had included steroids.

Two key recipients of Zahorian packages who did not testify at the trial were Hulk Hogan, WWF’s most famous wrestler, and Vince McMahon, who, in addition to being the kingpin of the industry, is an obsessed amateur bodybuilder.

Hogan was subpoenaed, but lawyer Jerry McDevitt succeeded in getting the judge to quash the subpoena on the grounds that it invaded Hogan’s privacy and harmed his business interests. Appearing on Arsenio Hall’s TV talk show right after the trial, Hogan denied that he had ever abused steroids – a contention so laughable that it would open the floodgates for accusers to go on record over the next year on a range of internal WWF scandals.

Unlike Hogan and the other wrestlers, Vince McMahon was not subpoenaed for the Zahorian trial. After the doctor was convicted and  sentenced to federal prison, McMahon instituted a steroid-testing program for WWF talent. In the course of announcing the program at a news conference, McMahon conceded that he personally had “experimented” with the anabolic steroid Deca-Durabulin.

***

1992 DRUG AND SEX SCANDALS

In 1992 some of Hulk Hogan’s former wrestling colleagues exposed him as an abuser of both steroids and recreational drugs, in a front-page story in the Los Angeles Times and in an article in People magazine. As a West Coast stringer for People, I reported the latter piece, which was collected in my 2007 book, WRESTLING BABYLON: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal.

Revelations of WWF drug abuse – spurred by the federal conviction of wrestlers’ steroid connection Dr. George Zahorian, and by Hogan’s lies about his relationship with Zahorian – were soon followed by allegations of both heterosexual and homosexual harassment of company talent and employees. In the latter category, two former wrestlers and key front-office employees, Terry Garvin and Pat Patterson, were implicated.

Another man, Mel Phillips – who supervised setting up the rings at WWF arena shows and also served as a backup ring announcer – was exposed as a pedophile who habitually used his position to exploit hangers-on from broken homes.

Collectively, the WWF scandals had one persistent media forum: the sports and media columns of Phil Mushnick of the New York Post. Thanks to Mushnick’s reporting, a federal grand jury began investigating WWF.

(I am not related to Phil Mushnick, a friend of many years’ standing who wrote the foreword to my recently published book, CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death. In 1993 Vince McMahon sued Mushnick and the Post for libel, and McMahon’s lawyers served me with a subpoena. Citing California’s journalist shield law, my attorney got the subpoena dropped. Later the libel suit itself was dropped.)

The most disturbing allegations against Garvin, Patterson, and Phillips were leveled by a former teenage ring attendant, Tom Cole. When Cole sued WWF, and Mushnick and others reported the allegations, all three named WWF figures were separated from the company.

Just before the filming of an episode of the Phil Donahue Show focusing on the scandals, Cole settled his lawsuit. Under the terms, Cole was given back his old WWF job. A short time later he wound up leaving WWF again and for good, claiming that the company had reneged on commitments to him. The last time I spoke to Cole, in 2000, he was married and owned a small business.

Patterson, McMahon’s right-hand man for matchmaking and story lines, had quietly returned to his job as a creative eminence grise just a few weeks after his 1993 resignation. Patterson, now retired, still consults for WWE.

***

1994 DRUG TRIAL

Following the conviction of ringside doctor George Zahorian in 1991, and the serial drug and sex scandals which roiled the then-World Wrestling Federation in 1992, a federal grand jury investigated. In 1993 Vince McMahon was indicted on steroid trafficking and conspiracy charges. The trial was held on Long Island the following July.

Two pieces of wrestling-style theatrics marked the proceedings. Just before the trial, McMahon had surgery to repair a neck injury. He came into the courtroom wearing a neck brace, and some observers speculated that he had timed the procedure in order to give himself a prop that would make him look more sympathetic before the jury.

Also, at one point during the trial, the bailiff told Judge Jacob Mishler that someone in the spectators’ gallery was talking to the jurors and seemingly trying to intimidate or influence them. That spectator was Afa Anoa’i, a 300-plus-pound retired Samoan wrestler who now trained WWF wannabes and rookies in Pennsylvania. Anoa’i had been seen sitting near the jury box, staring at jurors and softly mouthing the words “not guilty … not guilty.” Judge Mishler told Anoa’i to stop it.

(Anoa’i happens to be an uncle of Eddie “Umaga” Fatu, the WWE wrestler who died recently at age 36. Fatu had been fired by WWE in June for refusing to go into drug rehabilitation, but he was set to return to the company when he suffered his fatal heart attack.)

In the trial itself, the prosecution never succeeded in directly attaching McMahon to a coordinated effort around illegal steroid distribution. In the absence of such evidence, the conspiracy allegations fell apart. He was acquitted of all charges.

The testimony of a former WWF front-office employee, Anita Scales, suggested that McMahon’s defense was aided by a tip that had led the company to drop Zahorian just as the doctor was about to be busted.

Before the passage of 1987 deregulatory legislation in Pennsylvania, pro wrestling ringside physicians were appointed by the state athletic commission; thereafter they were hired by the promoters. Scales, who handled these logistics for WWF, testified at McMahon’s trial that she had wanted to cut off Zahorian, but was overruled by McMahon aide Pat Patterson. “The boys need their candy,” Patterson explained to Scales.

However, Vince and Linda McMahon then learned through social contacts that Zahorian was drawing heat from the feds, and the company stopped using him. Some think that decision made the difference in Vince’s own later acquittal. Others cite the holes in a weak government case, regardless of the resolution of Zahorian’s relationship with the WWF.

***

THE DEFENSE LAWYER, THE “FIXER,” AND THE PLAYBOY MODEL

At his 1994 trial on Long Island of federal drug trafficking and  conspiracy charges, Vince McMahon’s defense team included Jerry McDevitt, his long-time trusted lawyer and troubleshooter. Another defense attorney was the prominent trial lawyer Laura Brevetti. In 1992-93, when President Clinton was looking to appoint a female attorney general, Brevetti’s name appeared on several published “short lists” of prospects. (This year she joined the New York office of the law firm K&L Gates, where McDevitt has long been a Pittsburgh-based partner.)

Brevetti’s husband, Martin Bergman, was a freelance television producer. (His brother, Lowell Bergman, was the investigative producer for 60 Minutes who would be portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider, the movie about tobacco industry corruption.)

An important government witness at McMahon’s trial was his former secretary Emily Feinberg. She was also a former Playboy magazine model. Additionally, her husband was a WWF TV script writer.

During her WWF employment, Vince McMahon and Emily Feinberg were rumored to have had an affair. Vince and Linda McMahon have not talked about this in specifics, but their narrative includes the general acknowledgment that Vince cheated on her more than once while indulging in what he has termed the “party atmosphere” of the 1980s.

A year after McMahon’s trial acquittal, New York’s Village Voice published a long investigative story about Martin Bergman, who was described as a well-known “fixer.” The Voice article said that before Emily Feinberg’s trial testimony, Bergman contacted her under the guise of being a producer for a tabloid TV show. The suggestion was that, through his conversations with Feinberg, Bergman corrupted her direct testimony and aided the discrediting of it during cross-examination.

***

AFTERMATH

In the mid- and late 1990s, WWF lost millions of dollars and significant pro wrestling market share in fierce competition with Ted Turner’s Atlanta-based World Championship Wrestling. Vince McMahon turned the tide of the war in his favor with a series of creative decisions that made major crossover stars out of wrestlers Steve Austin and, later, “The Rock” (now movie actor Dwayne Johnson).

In one of those decisions, McMahon turned himself from a “babyface” (good guy) to a “heel” (bad guy). Previously he had been known on camera only as a sympathetic TV announcer. Now he was pushed as “Mr. McMahon,” a greedy and manipulative corporate boss. The impetus for the big switch was McMahon’s set of dealings with his champion wrestler of the time, Bret Hart, before Hart left WWF for WCW. The scenario culminated in a November 1997 in-ring double-cross of Hart known as the “Montreal screwjob.”

In 1999 WWF broke attendance and profit records, and Vince and Linda McMahon decided to take their closely held company, TitanSports Inc., public. (World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc., was originally traded on the Nasdaq stock  exchange. In the settlement of a trademark dispute with the World Wildlife Fund, the company would be renamed World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. WWE stock is now traded on the New York Stock Exchange.)

In media accounts hyping the October 1999 initial public stock offering, Vince McMahon played up both his status as a cartoon villain and the perceived link to his real-life persona. McMahon ridiculed his federal prosecution five years earlier and even added a dose of fiction, falsely stating that he had been convicted of one of the charges.

To remind himself of this last talking point, McMahon kept a note about it on the cuff of his shirt.

***

WAXMAN COMMITTEE INTERVIEW

Following the June 2007 double-murder/suicide of World Wrestling Entertainment star wrestler Chris Benoit, two committees of the U.S. House of Representatives explored holding public hearings on the health and safety standards of the professional wrestling industry.

One was the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, then headed by Henry Waxman of California. Late in the year committee staff investigators interviewed Vince and Linda McMahon and other WWE officials, including contract administrators and doctors of the company’s talent wellness policy. This program – the third and most recent regime of the drug-testing of wrestlers of WWE and its predecessor WWF – had been instituted after another star wrestler,  Eddie Guerrero, died suddenly in November 2005.

The transcripts of the Waxman Committee interviews, and even their existence, would not be released publicly until January 2009 – long after the calls for hearings on pro wrestling had died down. (There have been no such hearings by either that committee or the other that had expressed interest: the House Energy Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, chaired by Bobby Rush of Illinois.)

Vince McMahon’s interview with the Waxman staff took place on December 14, 2007.

When McMahon was told that anonymous sources had advised the committee that WWE’s “business model” relied on the talent’s use of “steroids or illegal drugs,” McMahon’s lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, interjected: “Vince, don’t even take these baits. You don’t have to answer those kind of questions.”

McMahon also was asked if he, himself, were subject to the wellness policy. McMahon replied that he was not. He explained that he performed inside the ring only a few times a year. Besides, he added, “I’m 62 [years old], not 26.”

McMahon then was asked if he had taken steroids since his 1992 admission after the Dr. George Zahorian trial.

Calling the question unfair and “bullshit,” McDevitt objected. “I’m not going to allow you to harass this man,” he said.

McMahon confirmed to the committee: “I’m refusing to answer the question.”

***

CONCLUSION

At his 1994 trial on steroid trafficking and conspiracy charges, I believe the jury of Vince McMahon’s peers got it right. In other words, the federal government failed to prove its case.

More broadly, I don’t jump to conclusions about McMahon’s criminal accountability for the outcomes of his peculiar industry – even if they stem, as they unquestionably do, from standards he personally created or enabled.

The best analogy, though it’s a weak one, is the role of owners in other, more legitimate sports. In 1998 Mark McGwire shattered major league baseball’s single-season home run record and was part of a manufactured feel-good narrative. Subsequently, the public has become aware that the explosion of baseball power-hitting, and the accompanying attendance records, were supported by steroid and Human Growth Hormone abuse. McGwire’s own links to this culture date all the way back to an FBI investigation in Michigan in the early 1990s. Yet no one has seriously contended that Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, should be tried in court for his vicariously profitable relationship to these misdeeds. (However, I am among those of the strong opinion that Selig does deserves all the ridicule and shame he has received, and then some.)

Linda and Vince McMahon’s story is a complex one of a stewardship whose excesses were far worse than baseball’s. Depending on your perspective, the fact that pro wrestling is a pseudo-sport makes what has happened there either more or less excusable: more excusable because “that’s entertainment”; less excusable because the consequence has been a public health problem – a pandemic of dozens upon dozens of avoidable deaths.

This blog series is a recognition that the McMahon family’s business success – the source of the wealth underwriting a campaign for the U.S. Senate – has been both complex and dramatic. World Wrestling Entertainment, at the pinnacle of an immensely profitable industry with carnival roots, has a horrible record of health and safety standards, of which death by drugs is but one aspect. The 2007 Chris Benoit murder-suicide ratcheted to a new level the urgency of a full and transparent history of these events. Linda McMahon’s candidacy for high elected office offers a useful platform for further scrutiny.

###

Linda McMahon’s Husband Vince Fought the Law, and the Law Lost (Part 7 – Conclusion)

Monday – Part 1, Dr. George Zahorian

Tuesday – Part 2, 1992 Drug and Sex Scandals

Wednesday – Part 3, 1994 Drug Trial

Thursday – Part 4, The Defense Lawyer, the “Fixer,” and the Playboy Model

Friday – Part 5, Aftermath

Saturday – Part 6, Waxman Committee Interview

TODAY – Part 7, Conclusion

At his 1994 trial on steroid trafficking and conspiracy charges, I believe the jury of Vince McMahon’s peers got it right. In other words, the federal government failed to prove its case.

More broadly, I don’t jump to conclusions about McMahon’s criminal accountability for the outcomes of his peculiar industry – even if they stem, as they unquestionably do, from standards he personally created or enabled.

The best analogy, though it’s a weak one, is the role of owners in other, more legitimate sports. In 1998 Mark McGwire shattered major league baseball’s single-season home run record and was part of a manufactured feel-good narrative. Subsequently, the public has become aware that the explosion of baseball power-hitting, and the accompanying attendance records, were supported by steroid and Human Growth Hormone abuse. McGwire’s own links to this culture date all the way back to an FBI investigation in Michigan in the early 1990s. Yet no one has seriously contended that Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, should be tried in court for his vicariously profitable relationship to these misdeeds. (However, I am among those of the strong opinion that Selig does deserves all the ridicule and shame he has received, and then some.)

Linda and Vince McMahon’s story is a complex one of a stewardship whose excesses were far worse than baseball’s. Depending on your perspective, the fact that pro wrestling is a pseudo-sport makes what has happened there either more or less excusable: more excusable because “that’s entertainment”; less excusable because the consequence has been a public health problem – a pandemic of dozens upon dozens of avoidable deaths.

This blog series is a recognition that the McMahon family’s business success – the source of the wealth underwriting a campaign for the U.S. Senate – has been both complex and dramatic. World Wrestling Entertainment, at the pinnacle of an immensely profitable industry with carnival roots, has a horrible record of health and safety standards, of which death by drugs is but one aspect. The 2007 Chris Benoit murder-suicide ratcheted to a new level the urgency of a full and transparent history of these events. Linda McMahon’s candidacy for high elected office offers a useful platform for further scrutiny.

Irvin Muchnick

http://benoitbook.com

https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com

http://twitter.com/irvmuch

END OF SERIES


Irv’s Tweets

  • RT @TJQuinnESPN: I have this mashup in my head of Jimmy Breslin singing Chuck Berry songs. Kind of overwhelming. 5 days ago
  • RT @Colm_Keaveney: Justine McCarthy moves and nudges us all on a little in todays Sunday Times. A brave story about an Irish family. https:… 5 days ago
  • RT @daveyhannigan: Jimmy Breslin's column the night John Lennon was killed nydailynews.com/news/national/… 5 days ago
  • (2/2) Dad and I looked through his old files, in vain, for the auto insurance application signed by Charles Edward Anderson Berry. 1 week ago
  • (1/2) The great Chuck Berry died on what would have been my father's 99th birthday. Dad sold Berry auto insurance before he was famous. 1 week ago
December 2009
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