Idol Chatter

ChrisBenoitpicforidolchatte.jpgAs someone who has never been a fan of the soap opera wrestling you see on TV, but who has been around it her whole life (both of my parents are long-time fans, dating back to the ’70s), I was very upset to learn World Wresting Entertainment (WWE) wrestler Chris Benoit murdered his wife Nancy and 7-year-old son Daniel. Before hanging himself with a weight-machine pulley, he placed a Bible next to their bodies.
When I heard the news, it took awhile for me to believe it. A recently storyline on the show (that’s right–it’s not real wrestling, it’s a show) involved WWE Chairman Vince McMahon “presumed dead” after entering a limo right before it exploded. So I figured the Benoit murder/suicide was fake as well, and that somehow the upcoming storyline was reported in the media as real news. When after realizing that the tragedy was, in fact, real, I couldn’t help but be saddened for the loss of an innocent woman and young boy–and be filled with anger towards Benoit and more so towards the WWE.
According to authorities, steroids were found in Benoit’s home–and it is being investigated if “‘roid rage”–intense feelings of anger that may accompany steroid use–is to blame. Most of the wrestling fans I know are well aware that steroid use runs rampant in professional wresting–more so than other sports–yet don’t seem to be bothered by it in the same way they would if it were proven that their favorite baseball or football player were caught using. Is this because they do not consider WWE wrestlers “legitimate athletes,” but rather athletes there for entertainment? Possibly. Or maybe it’s because if the WWE doesn’t care if their wrestlers use steroids, why should fans?

The WWE and Vince McMahon, in particular, have come under fire for years about turning a blind eye to wrestlers’ steroid use. Supposedly a drug testing policy does exist, and the organization claims that Benoit passed one on April 10th. The WWE has made statements that say they do not believe steroids had anything to do with the Benoit suicide/murders and are concerned over the “sensationalistic reporting” over the steroid finding.
But take a look at the wrestlers for one moment. Does anyone honestly believe that a majority of those guys do it the “natural” way? The muscle mass alone on some of these guys is completely unnatural. When it comes to steroid use, what organization wouldn’t look the other way when hundreds of millions of dollars rely on the ability of your employees to stay as “jacked up” as humanly possible?
Now, I’m not saying that Benoit himself is not to blame for what happened–course he is–but when you work for an organization that encourages–no, requires–huge bodies and fierce battles (every match involves one wrestler angry at another for one reason or another), and you combine it with the fact that Benoit was obviously unstable to begin with and used chemical enhancers (known to effect emotions) you have a very serious problem on your hands.
Wrestling fans, the authorities, and relatives of the Benoit family should start looking to the organization that supports steroid use as the accomplice to three very tragic deaths.

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