Photo from: WWE
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The recent release of Abraham Washington has raised a lot of criticism in the online world. Chad and I decided to weigh in on the situation too. Chad is out of town for the weekend and emailed me a few of his comments, so I figured I would tie both our thoughts into one blog because for the most part we are in agreement on the termination.
For those of you not familiar with the situation, a couple of weeks ago on Raw, AW said Titus O'Neal was "like Kobe Bryant in a Colorado hotel room...unstoppable." A few years ago Kobe Bryant was ACCUSED of raping a woman in a Colorado hotel. He was never convicted, in fact the case ended up being thrown out.
The night the comment was made Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler came back from a commercial and apologized. I had to rewind my DVR because I didn't even catch the comment. I figured AW would probably get slapped with a brief suspension and/or a fine and be back to action soon enough. But when he appeared the next night at the SmackDown! taping, I figured it was all water under the bridge. Then nearly two weeks after the incident, WWE released Washington from his contract.
A rep from the WWE issued this statement to TMZ: "Unfortunately, Brian Jossie, playing the character of A.W. was terminated because he continued to exhibit poor judgment by making offensive and inappropriate comments on live television and on social media."
|AW Enterprises celebrate
Photo from WWE
I've talked with some of my friends about this and probably the worst thing about the joke is that it's so irrelevant at this point. The whole Kobe situation first came to light nearly 10 years ago. I think for many people the joke went right over their heads. But Linda McMahon is running for the U.S. Senate again this year, and let's face it, AW just became a victim of that. There was nothing wrong with what he said and the WWE is pretty hypocritical for letting him go (keep reading for those examples)
Chad's 1-2-3 Cents:
AW's comment was barely a joke. No offensive words were said. The charges against Kobe were thrown out, so actual "rape" gets less punishment than a poorly worded comment about it.
|Mike Tyson at the WWE Hall of Fame
Photo from WWE
Think about it this way too. The WWE fires AW for making a veiled reference to an alleged rape four months after inducting Mike Tyson into their Hall of Fame. If you remember, Mike Tyson was convicted of raping a woman 20 years ago. At the time of his conviction, Tyson faced up to 60 years in prison for his actions, instead he served three years of a six-year sentence. Remember, Tyson RAPED a woman and not only was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but he became a huge part of the company in 1998 when Steve Austin was red hot. AW made a joke about an ALLEGED rape and got fired.
AW's firing of course set him off in the world of social meeting, posting several tweets about his former employer and how they do business. Would AW have been brought back in 5 months had he kept his mouth shut ala Daniel Bryan (he choked Justin Roberts with a tie on Raw during the Nexus invasion and was fired during Linda's first run for senate)
More double standards:
Several years ago, Vince McMahon in a backstage segment called John Cena, "my nigga." This was said right in front of Booker T and Sharmel (not that it matters who it was said in front of, but rather the fact that it was even said.) We don't recall any backlash on this incident.
DX can still say "Suck It." Just a few years ago they did the whole "Vince likes Cock" angle, which included a t-shirt with a rooster and that phrase. That's not exactly a family friendly or "conservative" message to send is it?
Does the TMZ culture we live in cause WWE to overreact because any little "controversy" will be spread and debated for hours/days whereas 10 years ago any remark would have died an hour after the show ended?
More of Kevin's 1-2-3 Cents:
Chad makes several valid points. This is a company that ran an angle on necrophilia several years ago. They've had hints of incest in story lines in the past. And they even used stock footage of the OJ Simpson Bronco chase during Roddy Piper and Goldust's match at Wrestlemania XII. I know OJ was never convicted of the double murder of his ex-wife and her friend, but he did stand trial before the footage was used by WWE. Controversy and envelope pushing are the things that lead to many of the successful story lines for the WWE.
|Linda McMahon is running for senate
I think it's clear if Linda McMahon wasn't running for office AW would still be employed. It's not fair to the fans or the wrestlers that the WWE is toning itself down for politics. It's even worse that someone would attempt to use the situation against McMahon in her run.
People who don't know wrestling need to be educated that this is entertainment. The wrestlers and managers and divas are all playing roles. It's a continuous story on TV. Lighten up folks there are bigger fish to fry than some guy making a lame joke nearly a decade late.
But the bottom line (as Stone Cold would say) is that the WWE is the McMahon's company and they can fire anyone for any reason they see fit. We as fans don't have to like it. But at the end of the day, it's Vince's right to do it.
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