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9.15.2009

Role Model

We’ve all heard the saying before.

“I am not a role model.”

A role model is defined as “a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.” Now, I bring this up because of recent events that have transpired in the world of professional wrestling. Our sick, twisted, yet highly entertaining world of professional wrestling. In recent weeks a lot of, let’s say unsavory things, have gone on.

“The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels of TNA wrestling was arrested for drunk driving a couple of weeks ago. Kurt Angle was arrested for violating a protection order, driving with a suspended license, and having growth hormones. And of course there’s Jeff Hardy.

Police received a tip and searched Hardy’s home. They found and seized 262 Vicodin prescription pills, 180 Soma prescription pills, 555 milliliters of anabolic steroids, a small amount of cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. Hardy could end up being charged with felony drug trafficking, two counts of felony possession, and felony maintaining a spot to keep these controlled substances. There’s more but for the sake of time I wont list it all. Suffice to say this looks bad. Not just for Hardy but for wrestling as a whole.

Most of us grew up watching wrestling as children. Of course we had no idea that our favorite stars were high out of their minds. As we got older we read the tell all books. Saw the interviews where guys like The Iron Sheik and Honky Tonk Man brag about the amount of drugs and booze they took. But you know what? This isn’t the 80’s. When something happens we don’t find out years later. We find out minutes after it occurred. Jeff Hardy being arrested on drug charges was not shocking to anyone. Except for the young fans.

After I found out about Jeff’s arrest I went to his brother Matt’s myspace page and read the comments made by fans. Parents wrote things like “I can no longer allow my kids to watch a sport and follow a guy like Jeff Hardy anymore.” “I am disgusted by what Jeff has done and so disappointed in him.” On the flip side there are the kids. “I know you’re innocent!” “You’ll be back soon!” “Why is the media lying on you like this?” Jeff issued a statement but didn’t flat out say that he was innocent. Because Jeff Hardy isn’t innocent. We have seen this before not just with him but many superstars in wrestling. To these kids guys like Jeff Hardy are role models whether they want to be or not.

If you’re on TV you’re a role model. Get used to it. Sure, you might’ve wanted to wrestle as a kid just for yourself but as soon as you appear on a screen where kids are watching what you do with their mouths wide open in shock you have become something they want to do and become. You are their role model. Not their mom. Not their dad. Not their teacher. YOU are their role model. The guy that steps through the curtain for those few minutes and does things we can only dream of are role models. And they need to get their shit together.

Do you have any idea how sick of reading about this kind of thing I am? Almost every week something happens that makes me shake my head in disgust and anger. How many of my favorite wrestlers are dead because of drug use? How many have drank themselves to death? This isn’t a wrestling specific issue but for the sake of writing for Tha O Show this is what I’m focusing on. This isn’t ESPN. I wont bring up Plaxico, Vick, or Kobe. I am talking about the guys that don’t have off seasons. That wrestle year round banging their bodies up for our entertainment with the only solace they receive comes at the bottom of a bottle or an illegally obtained prescription.

The guys coming up now grew up watching the guys that are either dead or dying right now. I like Mr. Perfect. Dead. I like Rick Rude. Dead. I like Chris Benoit. Dead. I liked Hawk. Dead. I liked Bam Bam Bigelow. Dead. I like Sherri Martel and Miss Elisabeth. Dead. I used the photo of Eddie Guerrero as an example of recovery being too little too late. Eddie had a well known history of drug and alcohol abuse. We prayed that he would get his shit together and he did. It was just too late. His heart had too much damage done to it and it gave out. How many more need to die until workers get it into their heads that they’re killing themselves and the business they say they love?

And honestly, O-Sters. How shocked would you be if you read this headline tomorrow morning?

“Former WWE & TNA wrestler Jeffrey Nero Hardy was found dead in his Raleigh, North Carolina home of an apparent drug overdose. He is survived by his brother, fellow wrestler and former tag team partner, Matthew Moore Hardy and his father Gilbert Hardy. Jeff Nero Hardy was 32.”


10 comments: on "Role Model"

Blake said...

couldnt have said it any better man.

Zyrone said...

Brother, I'm tired of it too. But, it almost sickens me to say this, that's the price to play. There are jobs out there, along with lifestyles, that carries a huge plus but also has it's cons that goes with it. Being in the military myself, I have been given the opportunity to defend my country, travel the world, and see things that I never would've back in North Carolina. The flip side is my PTSD, being away from loved ones, missing important days like birthdays and holidays, certain freedoms being gone, and the very possible chance of dying in a foreign country. I knew the risk and cast my die whatever happens from here is on my shoulders when the smoke clears. Back to the wrestling subject, from hearing what different workers have to go through on the road, it seems to me (my opinion) that this is the cost. To paraphrase what you said in your article, this isn't a normal act for human beings to be doing on a regular basis all year long. The toll paid by these amazing ladies and gentleman is staggering to my eyes much less anyone else's. You live in constant pain. Traveling from town to town just to throw yourself on to the ground and abuse yourself for the sake of the fans. After-wards, you go back to your hotel and call your loved ones to tell them that you won't be home for a while cause of the opportunity to get better at throwing yourself around and abusing yourself. You hang up the phone and try to get a couple hours of sleep before you go back out there and do it all over again. It's tragic as hell to see these people fall but to be honest with you I just wish them peace man. 7 and a half years into the military and I can barely keep myself together sometimes I have no idea how they do this. Everyone, at some point in their life, becomes a role model whether for good or bad. It's not on the role model's shoulders as to where those who look upon him go. It's on the parents to guide, the teacher's to mold, and the watcher to decide.
Great Article man I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record but I look forward to your post.
God Bless

Der Sturmer said...

That's the problem for a lot of the boys, this is a sport where there is no off season, and most can't afford taking time off. I'm not condoning Hardy's actions or the actions of those who are gone now. I've been a ref, manager, and wrestler on the indy circuit and I walked away after watching friends die. I couldn't do it. I've never touched drugs or alcohol, but man, after a few matches... I couldn't help but think about it. I knew if I got involved in the business, personally, I would want to be a good role model, heel or face. My straight edge mentality doesn't come from that, but came from watching others die, and I've had this mentality from childhood.

Its sad, but these guys, if they wanted can get a grip on it. Most don't want to because they are afraid of the time off. Time off can equal the fans forgetting you. Your skills diminishing. The loss of big money. Or someone younger and fresher taking your shine. We all know the price, but does anyone really want to take it?

BigDaddy said...

I agree bro...

However, I find your argument in conflict without private discussion yesterday where you defending Kanye West!!

He too has to hold himself to a higher standard, being a public figure - and shouldn't treat people like they are beneath him.

D. Ross said...

Donnie, what the hell are you talking about? I know what I said about Kanye but he hasn't glorified a lifestyle that would lead to children dying. If you wanna use a rapper as an example use 50 Cent, Jay Z, or NWA. Kanye hurt a woman's feelings. Kanye's music isn't geared towards kids. The only song that he has even close to influencing children is a song I think called "Graduation" and seeing as how Bernie Mac is in that song kids shouldn't listen.

"To all my people that's drug dealing just to get by stack your oney until it gets sky high. We wasn't supposed to make it past 25. Joke's on you we're still alive."

And that son is about kids having to realize that college does not equal being rich and successful which is true. And thanks for trying to bring up a private discussion. You rock. I dont want this to become the Kanye thread. But since you want to take it there...

When was the last time a wrestler admitted to their fuck ups? When was the last time they got on TV and apologized for vanishing for a month because they couldn't stop getting high or drunk? Yeah, someone will mention it on a show (like Piper with Santino's DUI or Punk with Jeff's recent arrest) but that isn't the same. Wrestling is geared towards kids more nowadays and the guys they want to see and become are killing themselves. And that's just the ones that get caught.

Thanks for the support, Blake. Zyrone, thanks for fighting around the world. You seem like a cool ass dude and I really do hope you make it out safely. Der Sturmer, I am glad you made it out of the business before it ate you alive. Donnie, dont make me have Dan-e-o give you the dreadswipe.

BigDaddy said...

Kanye, hero worshipped by many kids, just showed he can get away with walking out on international TV and humiliating some innocent girl.

That attitude may not lead to fatal repercussions, but it most certainly can lead to changes in attitude and behavior.

When Iverson started yappin about "PRACTICE????" I head kids on my team that I coached doing the same... they worshiped Iverson, and figured, if he didn't need it, neither did they.

Attitudes
Styles
Dangerous behaviours
Drug Abuse

They are all passed down from people of distinction to those who adore

D. Ross said...

What did Kanye get away with? He got thrown out. Humiliated by everyone. He apologized in front of millions last night and to Swift and her mom. This isn't the first or last time his mouth will get him in trouble. But Taylor Swift isn't going to die because of what he said about a MUSIC VIDEO.

And as a coach I'm sure you let the kids you were working with know that practice was not something to be taken lightly. Anyone can be a loudmouth jackass like Iverson. If being flashy equaled success then Evan Bourne would be a world champion. I'm not huge basketball fan, but has Iverson won any championships?

BigDaddy said...

Have you seen the movie Wag The Dog? Apologies don't mean shit. Neither do retractions. Once its out in the public forum, damage is done.

I'm not saying what Kanye did will kill anyone ... but does it make it "cool" in the eyes of some kid to disrespect someone?

Maybe at a high school awards ceremony this year, some kid will think it's cool to pull a Kanye. It won't make headlines, but it'll break some kid's heart.

I'm not saying this is on the same level as a Jeff Hardy or countless others who personify a dangerous lifestyle... but you can connect them.

It may be a dotted line (as opposed to a solid, unwavering one) between what I'm saying and your article, but I don't think it can be any clearer.

D. Ross said...

Dude, you do realize that you're the Cut Off King, right? That's what Kanye did. And if some kid tries that at their graduation their diploma will get snatched away (at least here it would). And if apologies mean nothing then all hell is gonna break loose, right? If someone can do things with no damage done than there is no need to discuss this.

As for kids copying shit, we all copied wrestling moves we saw. But when kids start copying outside the ring behavior there's an even bigger issue of parenting and guidance in that childs life.

Kanye West said...

sorry to interrupt you all BUT JOHN CENA HAD THE GREATEST PAY PER VIEW MATCH OF ALL TIME!!