August 13, 2007
Ms. Dixie Carter
Dear Ms. Carter:
We are writing to request information regarding the response of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) to allegations of pervasive use of steroids and other drugs by professional wrestlers. The tragic death of Mr. Chris Benoit and his family has focused attention on the seriousness of the problem. Illegal steroid use in professional sports has gained plenty of attention, but the record suggests that the problem is most pervasive and deadly in pro wrestling, an unregulated form of entertainment that is watched on TV and in arenas by an estimated 20 million fans a week, including children. See e.g., attached USA TODAY investigative report, “High death rate lingers behind fun facade of pro wrestling.”
As Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the subcommittee with jurisdiction over sports-related matters, we are monitoring this situation very closely. We request a briefing on this matter at the earliest possible time We also are considering a hearing on this matter, and whether there is a need for Federal regulation to protect the health and safety of the wrestlers. In the 109 th Congress, the Subcommittee held a hearing on “Steroids in Sports: Cheating the System and Gambling Your Health,” and reported legislation, H.R. 1862, the Drug Free Sports Act
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. implemented a Talent Wellness Program in February 2006. Please advise the Subcommittee by close of business on August 28, 2007, whether TNA has adopted a similar program. If so, please provide the Subcommittee with a copy of your program, as well as any other relevant records detailing the specifics of the program as well as TNA’ s implementation and interpretation thereof. Records include memoranda, correspondence, and electronic communications. Please also describe any and all actions that TNA has taken – either within or outside any such program – to detect and prevent steroid abuse. Information, including the aggregate number of random tests conducted in each month this year, would assist the Subcommittee in its review, and we request that you provide that information, as well. We are sending similar information requests to other wrestling leagues.
Should you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact us, or have your staff contact Christian Tomatsu Fjeld or Consuela Washington with the Majority Committee staff at (202) 225-2927 or Brian McCullough or Will Carty with the Minority Committee staff at (202) 225-3641.
Bobby L. Rush
The Honorable Joe Barton, Ranking Member