Does Racism Exist In Professional Wrestling?

Kevin Kelly


Did I ever hear Michael Hayes use the â<80><9c>N wordâ<80>? Of course I did. Everyone who worked in the WWE from Vince McMahon to Howie in the mail room has heard Michael use the â<80><9c>N wordâ<80>.

Did I also hear Teddy Long, Ron Simmons and D-Lo Brown talk about feeling like â<80><9c>slaves in the fieldâ<80>? Of course I did.

While Michaelâ<80><99>s use of the word in the presence of Mark Henry was stupid and tasteless, that doesnâ<80><99>t mean that Michael is a racist. Same goes for Teddy, Ron and D-Lo. Now, I wasnâ<80><99>t offended when I heard Michael use the â<80><9c>Nâ<80> word nor was I offended by Teddy, Ron and D-Loâ<80><99>s diatribe as well.

Chances are we are all racist to some extent. Some more than others but everyone harbors some racist feelings. We canâ<80><99>t help it, we are human beings. Look at what Senator Barack Obama is dealing with. He canâ<80><99>t get the white, blue-collar vote. Why? Is it because that group has the collective belief that Obama canâ<80><99>t do the job? Please.

Frank Rich in Sundayâ<80><99>s â<80><9c>New York Timesâ<80> described it as â<80><9c>The All-White Elephant in the Roomâ<80>, a strange but toxic mix of double standards and inconsistencies that render us all human. So, while Michael Hayes gets suspended for 60 days, is he all that different from anyone else?

Konnan has sounded the trumpet regarding racism in wrestling. He wasnâ<80><99>t the first and wonâ<80><99>t be the last. Is there racism in wrestling? Yes there is because there are human beings in wrestling. But, has anyone reacted with outrage as Konnan told tale after tale about racists dwelling in the wrestling industry? Why is Konnanâ<80><99>s story so much different than Mark Henry?

Some might say that there is an over-sensitive nature among some members of the African-American community. As the Reverend Al Sharpton plans organized civil disobedience this week throughout New York City in the wake of the acquittal of three NYC police officers in the killing of Sean Bell, are we to believe that only blacks are victims of misdeeds by the police?

Does Al Sharpton speak for all blacks? Sharpton on Fox News Sunday morning on May 4th had little sympathy for Barack Obama and blamed the media for perpetuating the controversial comments of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. If a black man makes racist statements, is he any less of a racist? Remember when Don Imus called members of the Rutgersâ<80><99> womenâ<80><99>s basketball teams â<80><9c>nappy-headed hoâ<80><99>sâ<80>? Boy, Sharpton was quick to capitalize on that and Imus was out. Where is Sharptonâ<80><99>s outrage regarding the Reverend Wright?

I only bring up Reverend Sharpton because he is a polarizing figure in race relations in the United States. One of the selling points for Barack Obama going into 2008 was the fact that he was a new generation of African-American, different that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, more palatable for White America. The closer we get to Election Day, it seems Barack Obama is no different than Jackson when it comes to being elected to the White House.

And thatâ<80><99>s because we are all racist to some extent, some more than others. Michael Hayes may or may not be a racist. Thatâ<80><99>s not for me to say. But, with his use of the â<80><9c>N wordâ<80> in the presence of Mark Henry, Hayes displayed ignorance and with the WWE being a publicly traded company, racist attitude and language that has existed forever in pro wrestling now becomes a punishable offense.

But, just like Don Imus, Michael Hayes will be allowed to continue his career. For every Sputnik Monroe, there was Thunderbolt Patterson. And for every Konnan, there will be Michael Hayes. Itâ<80><99>s human actions and emotions that make us all seem so human.

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