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NOTE: Justin LaBar will be joining Chris Cash and Nick Paglino to debate this topic LIVE, tomorrow night from 7:30-8:30 EST, on the Voice of Wrestling radio show. You can also hear my thoughts on this topic in this week's Cashflow feature, exclusively on the VOW Network. Visit VOWLive.com for details.
Allow me to once again be the voice of reason and offer a different viewpoint regarding the release of Brian Jossie (aka Abraham Washington) -- to the extent that I would use my entire "Stars in Progress" column on this one story.
It seems way too easy these days for fans, primarily the IWC, to jump on board the "shoot" train and negate the facts or evidence supporting a WWE decision. Meaning, in this case, it doesn't matter whether WWE was justified or not in releasing Jossie, a Twitter tyrade by the "victim" will win everytime.
He could have been 100% wrong and his termination 100% warranted -- and I think both of those statements are true, by the way -- but it wouldn't matter. He's playing the part of martyr very well. And fans are biting hook, line and sinker.
By the way, I respect Jossie completely for doing it and keeping himself relevant. However, here's another admirable trait -- man up, and own your mistake.
That's what the Kobe comment was, in fact -- a simple mistake. And WWE, as a publicly-traded company, has every right to protect themselves when such is made.
"But Chris, the hypocrisy! What about [enter past example here]? Why was this allowed and AW's joke got him fired?"
First of all, let me present one quick tidbit that people seem to be ignoring. This was one of Jossie's recent tweets: "If I smoked crack or did steroids I'd get suspended but I made a joke and tweeted support Linda and I get fired. #Doesn'tAddUp #Hmmmmm".
Why, if the Kobe Bryant joke is the primary reason he got fired, did they allow him to appear on both Raw AND Smackdown after the fact? And even further, with a live mic!?
That doesn't add up.
Jossie also tweeted pre-release that he and the Prime Time Players support Linda McMahon and fans should too. It was a random comment to the naked eye (as in, no one asked him about it and there was no apparent reason for him to offer his opinion on the subject) and given his comments post-firing, I'm willing to bet he was being a smartass.
From what it seems, that was more likely what landed him on the unemployment line and not the actual Kobe reference itself.
That being said, back to WWE's double standard practices -- they absolutely have them. Every star-driven business does. I'm pretty sure LeBron James is allowed a few more mulligans than Mike Miller, and rightfully so. One is more replaceable than the other.
It's even more the case in sports "entertainment". Talent is registered different in a scripted world than it is in "real" sports. Abraham Washington might have more talent than anyone else in the company, but we'd never know it if Vince doesn't write him to show it.
Casual fans won't miss Abraham Washington; internet fans only care because he's saying all the right things, and it's a good story.
Speaking of, I give Brian Jossie all the credit in the world for taking a bad situation and turning it into a favorable one. The internet is powerful and perception is reality. Opportunities come to you when you're perceived as a bigger deal than you really are.
He should ride this as long as he can. It might be the best thing WWE's ever written for him.