Rob expresses his opinions on the #SpeakingOut situation that has taken the wrestling community by storm.
Normally I don’t come back so quickly but I didn’t get everything in I wanted for my last piece in time to publish so here we are. Also with all this stuff unfolding in real time like it is, there are going to be conclusions that you, I, and a lot of other people reached that are going to change in a matter of minutes. There are going to be what you thought were reasonable takes today on certain people that will be completely flipped on their head before the day is over. It is what it is. Before I go any further let’s start on this: give the victims their space to talk and STFU. There is literally nothing you have to add to the conversation by jumping in someone’s mentions to defend the accused or demand evidence or whatever.
Well, we don’t want to ruin these men’s lives if it’s not true…….
Man, who cares? Unless one of these guys is wrongfully incarcerated for a crime they didn’t commit then there’s nothing they can’t get back. If a guy gets fired and later proves his innocence then he can get hired back, or pursue some kind of redress from his former employer. But that’s not likely to happen anyway. At the most some of them will shoot down some aspects of their accuser’s story, and muddy up the waters enough that their staunchest defenders can ride around triumphantly and the rest of us have to make a decision on what we choose to believe. And even then they will more than likely reveal some other jerky behavior that they exhibited. The idea that any of these guys is going to totally clear their name is pretty much a fantasy. Yes, a few of the hundreds of stories coming out will be refuted. So what?
If love the art form then you should want it to be as clean as possible. There’s no reason for women to feel or be unsafe, be it as fans or participants. I mean seriously, what benefit is it to you for women who want to enjoy it to be unsafe? There is no one’s employment that worth saving, no matter how well they can execute a dragon suplex. And just like with Chris Benoit, whatever they did that you just can’t stop watching is on video so go look it up there if you have to see them so badly (for more on that topic, go here.) None of these dudes are owed employment in the wrestling business and no one is obligated to give it to them. If one or several of your favorites finds himself on the outside looking in after all this then you should get mad at him, not the victims and not whoever fired him because he brought that on himself. We’re not talking taking too long on lunch breaks here, we’re talking about sexual harassment and assault. Get over yourself already.
The biggest problem besides the heinous acts that these dudes committed the worst part of all this is the environment that has existed in not just pro wrestling but society as a whole. The ‘boys will be boys and girls are here to be hit on’ mentality that has prevailed for so long has the business it the predicament it is now, and things are at a point where either change is going to happen or the business itself will become severely diminished out of stubbornness to change. Defending your favorites in an effort to save their opportunity to perform for you, while they have committed all kinds of atrocities against female fans and wrestlers, is more likely to hurt the whole business than help it in the long run. Just like those acts have hurt it today. You’re not helping anyone by flying that flag, particularly the victims who need the most support of all. Accused sexual abusers and harassers do not deserve any sympathy or defending, on the hope that maybe their accuser is lying, because you just can’t stand to see them blackballed from the business.
Instead of doing that, save your energy for what you can do as a fan to make things better for the women who sit next to us in the stands and perform in the ring for us. Demand better decisions from wrestling companies on who to hire backstage and who to book on the shows. Stop frequenting forums, sites, podcasts, etc run by people who have displayed clear problems with how they talk about women. Stop tolerating people who are constantly bashing women because they say some other things that you think are cool. When that edgy thought pops in your head, stop and think before you type it out and hit ‘send’. Stop referring to female fans as ring rats or groupies. There is nothing good that comes out of using the term ‘ring rats’; the bros that you pop when you say it are probably scumbags. And if you see a trash tweet or comment that you can’t just leave alone, then respond and tell whoever said it that it’s a trash comment. Fight back, don’t look away.
But lastly, I’ll say this. Defending these losers is the worst thing you can do, and is a sign that you’re probably a piece of trash yourself. Shutting up is free. If you find yourself thinking that an accuser’s account is shaky……be quiet and keep those thoughts to yourself. Seriously you’re ‘well actually’ isn’t the smart take you think it is. The perpetrators need to be outed, and then they need to be dealt with. The careers that end as a result are not anything to mourn. You want to be sad be sad for the victims. And think about how you can contribute to making things better for everyone.