Atrocious Occupational Health and Safety Standards of Linda McMahon’s WWE a Public Health Issue (5th in a series)

PREVIOUSLY:

Introducing “WWE Responds to Hearst’s Story on the Abortive Waxman Committee Steroid Investigation” (1st in a series)

WWE Corporate Flack Is One of the Hardest Jobs in America (2nd in a series)

Hearst Story on Waxman Committee Dropping the Ball on WWE Investigation Is Unimportant – Just Take Dave Meltzer’s Word for It (3rd in a series)

Brian Lockhart and Hearst Pointed Readers to the Entire Waxman Committee Primary-Source Record (4th in a series)

Let’s go over it one more time. The reason the occupational health and safety standards of pro wrestling – a huge and profitable entertainment industry dominated by Linda McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment – need reform is that people are dying, and this is a public health issue. The reason is not that wrestling is yukky. There is no accounting for taste. McMahon thinks she has lived the American Dream and she is entitled to her opinion. Me, I want a girl with a short skirt and a long jacket.

I don’t particularly care how WWE and wrestling get themselves cleaned up: whether by Congressional investigation, by White House follow-up, by newspaper stories exposing lapses in government oversight, or by the current focus on the business and riches of the McMahon family via Linda’s no-holds-barred campaign for a U.S. Senate seat.

Or, I might add, by the hyped circulation of Hearst Connecticut newspapers. Or even by the sales of a book called CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death. Shocking confession, no?

Yesterday WWE flack Robert Zimmerman sent the following statement to a select group of journalists:

WWE RESPONSE TO HEARST ARTICLES

“In light of a recent article and editorial column which appeared in the Connecticut-based Hearst Newspapers, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) feels compelled to provide clear and accurate information on the company’s Talent Wellness Program and its position on steroids.

The WWE agrees with Congressman Henry Waxman and the ONDCP that “the abuse of steroids presents a pernicious public health threat”; however the WWE vehemently disagrees with Waxman’s assertion in January 2009 that the WWE’s “anti-steroid program lacks independence and transparency.” Since the WWE’s Talent Wellness Program began in February 2006, the company, through independent medical third parties, tests for and strictly prohibits the use of steroids and other illegal substances.The program also monitors for cardiovascular and head trauma issues, as well as conducts annual physicals and provides healthcare referrals. WWE’s Talent Wellness Program is overseen and independently administered by well-respected doctors in their field of expertise who work with other well-known organizations such as the NFL and NHL.

WWE welcomes any and all objective, qualified and independent scrutiny of its Talent Wellness Program, which is available in its entirety at the corporate website http://www.corporate.wwe.com. We invite the media to compare our program to any other steroid testing program currently in place. Until the Connecticut–based Hearst Newspapers do a thorough examination of the WWE’s Talent Wellness Program, we believe readers are paying for questionable journalism.”

Hartford Courant columnist Rick Green links to the Zimmerman statement in a blog post this morning headlined “McMahon is WWE and WWE is McMahon,” http://blogs.courant.com/rick_green/2010/03/-wwe-vince-mcmahon-linda-mcmahon-steriods-robert-zimmerman.html.

In the surrogate semiotics of the Senate campaign, Green usefully reminds us that the brands “WWE” and “Linda McMahon, French teacher manqué” were packaged in the same image factory. He notes that all the responses to recent attacks on Linda’s campaign have come from her “former” company.

(Small aside: neither WWE nor the McMahon campaign has actually responded specifically to Rob Simmons’ Ten Questions. Zimmerman refers to “a recent article and editorial column which appeared in the Connecticut-based Hearst newspapers.” The “article” is surely Brian Lockhart’s Sunday investigation of the mysteriously terminated investigation of wrestling drug policies by Congressman Henry Waxman’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The “editorial column” is probably a snide labeling of Lockhart’s news article yesterday, “Simmons demands steroid answers from McMahon; cites Hearst article,” http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/default/article/Simmons-demands-steroid-answers-from-McMahon-390340.php#page-3.)

Here’s where we are in all this, folks. The Lockhart story valuably inserted into the Senate campaign conversation more discussion of McMahon’s accountability for her WWE’s role in a horrifying pandemic of young deaths.

Let’s get on with it.

Irv Muchnick

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1 Response to “Atrocious Occupational Health and Safety Standards of Linda McMahon’s WWE a Public Health Issue (5th in a series)”



  1. 1 Dave Meltzer Is Quite a Bit Better on ‘10 Questions to Linda McMahon’ (6th in a series) « Chris & Nancy: … by IRVIN MUCHNICK Trackback on March 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm

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