Michael Hayes 60-day suspension for using a racial slur during WrestleMania weekend was a lot more than just a slap on the wrist.
Besides losing two months of salary, he was ordered to go to sensitivity training as well as alcohol recovery classes. Even though he is being brought back as a writer, he was also demoted from his role as company Vice President, likely because it would look bad to the outside world to have someone in that position of power that is well known to have used racial remarks in the year 2008. Due to the demotion, he is ineligible for stock grants and performance bonuses, which can sometimes be worth well into the six figures when the company’s profit goals are reached.
Hayes also had to go through a huge lifestyle change in order to get his job back. He has agreed to not drink alcohol while doing anything associated with World Wrestling Entertainment. Obviously, he can’t drink while on the job in Stamford or on the road, but this also includes after shows and parties. There was talk of Hayes taking antabuse, which is medication that causes one to vomit should they drink alcohol. Hayes has had a reputation for heavy drinking over the years. A few people have noted that he turns into a different person when drinking and his use of racial slurs increases.
Hayes also sat down with Mark Henry to clear things up between them. He may also have to meet with the company’s African-American talent.
WWE believes that Hayes is a strong part of the creative team, but that they can live without him if he keeps stirring things up. Also, considering that WWE is publicly traded company, if he messes up again, he becomes more of a liability than he’s worth.
Hayes might be back to work this week, but if he isn’t, definitely next week. I haven’t heard whether he’s at RAW today or not but if I do I’ll post it here.