Friday, July 31, 2015

The Real (K)N Word

Courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast

That title will, hopefully, make sense in a few sentences.

I don’t want to live in a world where a person can’t be racist. Not saying I think racism is a good thing. I happen to think racism (in any form) is a personification of ignorance. I’ve always preferred to get to know someone and then hate them based on whom they are instead of hating people based on what they are. 

If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware of footage being released of Hulk Hogan using racial slurs during a private conversation he wasn’t aware was being taped. In light of this tape becoming public knowledge, WWE severed ties with Hogan and have scrubbed his existence from their website. This leads to the title of this blog. The real (k)N word that is, in my opinion, ruining society is, Kneejerk. 

For whatever reason, WWE felt the need to take such extreme measures over a situation, which faded out faster than the wrestling career of the last Tough Enough winner. Sure, Hogan’s rant was all over the news the day the story broke. But since then, mostly silence. My daily work revolves around celebrity gossip and “news” and other than seeing some random footage of wrestlers being asked about Hogan, there has been no other major coverage of the leaked footage. 

I have no problems with WWE firing The Hulkster as judge on Tough Enough or putting out a statement saying they don’t agree with what he said and his opinions don’t reflect those of WWE. But to try and erase him in a similar fashion as they did Chris Benoit is insane.  That brings me back to the kneejerk reaction we as a society have accepted as normal. 

Look at the recent attempts to ban the Confederate flag as well as the outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion. For some reason, when something happens that people don’t agree with the initial reaction is to go into overdrive with public outrage. 

Whether you agree with what Hulk Hogan said, the fact is those comments were made in a private conversation. I’m willing to bet most people have made statements in private that if made public would cause the same type of backlash. Does that make Hogan’s use of racial slurs acceptable? No, However, trying to erase Hogan from history or make him out to be one of the worst persons ever does nothing either. 

Donald Trump and Mike Tyson way back when...

WWE removed Hulk Hogan’s name and picture from the Hall of Fame section on their website. You know who is still listed as Hall of Famers? Donald Trump and Mike Tyson. If you’ve been paying attention to the 2016 Presidential campaign of Donald Trump, you’re aware he has made several disparaging remarks about Mexicans. Remarks that several people find equally as racists, if not more so, as Hogan using the N-word. WWE hasn’t issued any public statement distancing them from Trump.  Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist. WWE has made no comments condemning Tyson.  

Michael Hayes
Sure, WWE could say Trump and Tyson don’t work for them so their words or actions aren’t reflective of WWE. Is that okay though? Even if you overlook that double standard, what about the fact Michael Hayes is still employed by WWE after going up to Mark Henry in 2008 and saying, “I’m more of a N-word than you.”  Sure, Hayes got a nice paid vacation, but still works for WWE.  Is it because Hayes is less publicly known and works backstage while Hogan is one of the biggest names in the wrestling world so it’s easier to cover up Hayes’ comments? 

I support WWE’s decision to cut ties with Hogan if they feel his actions could be damaging to their brand. I just happen to think they went a little overboard in their reaction. When the story blows over and they eventually bring Hogan back, WWE will look even more foolish for overreacting.  The big lesson to be learned for everyone, not just WWE, whenever something happens that may offend you before reacting wait a day or two to gather more information.

Kevin's podcast on Hogan

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