e shtunë, 30 qershor 2007
Interesting opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun: Benoit's shocking death raises question of fans' complicity
We don't know that wrestling led Benoit to the terrible events of last weekend. We will never know what ran through his mind.
Some people dismiss wrestling all too easily because of its carnival roots and ridiculous plots. But really, what's so rational about dressing up in colored armor and beating your fellow man as half-naked women cheer you on at the coliseum? I've just described the nation's most popular sport, professional football.
And we know that football shatters the bodies of its greatest heroes. Johnny Unitas' scarred knees and gnarled hands told us so.
We know that tens of thousands of punches to the head slow the steps and slur the words of courageous boxers. We're reminded every time Muhammad Ali appears in public.
We know that a car traveling 200 mph can spin out of control even when guided by the most skilled hand. Dale Earnhardt's demise at Daytona attested to that.
No, it won't do to dismiss the implications of Benoit's death simply because he was a wrestler.
As a culture, we've decided that consenting adults are allowed to push themselves past safe limits for our entertainment. Drug testing and better medical care and safety precautions can lessen many of these risks but cannot stamp them out.
I don't know about you, but when a boxer loses his life in the ring, or a football player is crippled, or a wrestler turns up dead in his hotel room, I feel complicit.
If I know these acts are so destructive, why do I watch? Do I lack the moral fortitude to look past my desire to be entertained? I fear the answer is yes.
In the past few days, scores of wrestling fans have said on message boards that Benoit's death will kill their love of the spectacle. Many more have said that one man's deranged acts shouldn't end an art loved by so many. I agree with the latter, and yet I wonder.
Postuar nga Duane në 9:29 e pasdites
Good column by Jack Encarnacao about the Perils of Pro Wrestling
Make no mistake: If professional wrestler Chris Benoit hadn’t strangled his wife and son and then hanged himself from his weight machine, no one would care whether or not he was on steroids.
And no one would care whether there was a steroid problem in professional wrestling. The track record makes this case.
As media questions took shape this past week around the idea that Benoit murdered his family in a fit of ‘‘roid rage,’’ wrestling fans couldn’t help but wonder where similar scrutiny has been over the past 15 years while wrestler after wrestler died before the age of 50 from the lethal combination of steroids, hard drugs, painkillers and a relentless lifestyle.
World Wrestling Entertainment headliner Eddie Guerrero died at 38 in November 2005 because an enlarged heart, traced to steroid and drug abuse, constricted his arteries and eventually caused a failure.
‘‘It’s just so hard to go through this again,’’ said Chavo Guerrero, Eddie’s nephew and one of Benoit’s few close friends in the WWE, on a Benoit retrospective that aired Monday night on the USA Network.
Media paid a week’s worth of attention to Guerrero’s death, but didn’t seem to catch on to the fact that it clearly illustrated the perils of the wrestling business.
In case they did catch on, WWE was ready. The company implemented a Talent Wellness Program three months after Guerrero’s death. Since then, WWE wrestlers have been subject to random drug testing by an independent agency and penalized if illegal drugs are found in their system. The company meant business: One wrestler got a 30-day suspension for getting caught with pot during a traffic stop.
Fast forward to this past week, as Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly discussed the Benoit situation on his television show.
O’Reilly lamented that wrestling is unregulated (true) and that there’s ‘‘no drug testing of any kind’’ (not true). O’Reilly was corrected on the latter point by a pro wrestling promoter he was interviewing, and had no idea what to say in response.
Here are two pieces of info O’Reilly could have used: Wrestlers are always injured so they can easily be legally prescribed steroids that facilitate healing, and the only reason WWE is testing is that one of its performers, Guerrero, died of an overdose while working for WWE.
The list of WWE alumni who were no longer with the company when they died of drug overdoes is long. To name a few: Scott ‘‘Bam Bam’’ Bigelow, Ray ‘‘The Big Bossman’’ Traylor, Mike Awesome, ‘‘Sensational’’ Sherri Martel, Curt ‘‘Mr. Perfect’’ Hennig, Elizabeth ‘‘Miss Elizabeth’’ Hulette, Mike ‘‘Road Warrior Hawk’’ Hegstrand, Mike ‘‘Crash Holly’’ Lockwood, ‘‘The British Bulldog’’ Davey Boy Smith, Louis ‘‘Spicolli’’ Mucciollo.
If NFL football players died at anywhere near this rate, at anywhere near the ages of these wrestlers, a congressional investigation would have been launched a long time ago.
But apparently a wrestler has to slaughter his family before anyone cares.
Postuar nga Duane në 9:25 e pasdites
e enjte, 28 qershor 2007
Nancy Grace is an idiot.
The wrestling forums are lighting up with wrestling fans that are outraged at Nancy Grace for her coverage of the Chris Benoit murder/suicide story. Wrestling fans are saying she did not have her facts straight before reporting the story.
Her angle of attack on the story was that anabolic steroids had to have played a part in the actions of Chris Benoit. Nancy Grace quoted the WWE in the statement that anabolic steroids did not play a part in the murders. She attempted to make a statement that the WWE would "of course deny the possibility."
The fans of wrestling became angered because of the fact that the police have announced that they are looking into the possibility that Chris Benoit had been giving the steroids to his child in an attempt to make him grow to average size for his age. Being a former lawyer, the WWE fans would have thought that Nancy Grace would have argued this case after researching it.
The fans were also outraged when she made the statement that Chris Benoit may have become upset when he was demoted from the Four Horsemen to Raw. The Four Horsemen was an organization that was disbanded years ago. Raw has been considered to be the premier brand for years.
In actuality, Chris Benoit had been sent to ECW, which was the training ground for the WWE. He was sent there to help train the new wrestlers to the company, and was reported to be very happy about this change.
Many of the forums are filled with people who stated that they tried to call in to the Nancy Grace show to point out the fact that there are many credible reports that point out that Chris Benoit may have planned this murder for a long time before. This was information that she did not have when her show aired.
The other issue that is lighting up the forums is the fact that anabolic steroids will cause an instant rage. Chris Benoit bound his wife before killing her. For the most part, this would rule out the chance for an instant rage.
Also, Chris Benoit killed his son many hours after killing his wife. This second murder pretty much rules out instant rage.
This is not the first time that Nancy Grace has come under fire for not having the full story. There are many people that will point to the Duke Rape Case as being Nancy Grace's major downfall. She spent many hours trying to accuse the students and prosecute them in the media. They were found not guilty on all of the charges.
This has been a very emotional case for many wrestling fans. They did not think that it was proper for Nancy Grace to make accusations and assumptions without having all of the information that was available.
Postuar nga Duane në 9:11 e pasdites
Eerie photo of Benoit from his doctors office.
WSB-TV Channel 2 has obtained a photograph of a a smiling Chris Benoit at his doctor's office Friday afternoon just hours before he went home and killed his wife and son and then committed suicide.
The picture was snapped by a wrestling fan at Dr. Phil Astin's office in Carrollton.
Federal drug agents and sheriff's officials raided that office Wednesday night in search of records and other items in a warrant.
The fan who took the picture described Benoit as soft-spoken and "nice." He signed an autograph for the woman.
Agent Chuvalo Truesdell, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Atlanta, said Thursday that the raid at Astin's office in Carrollton began Wednesday night and concluded early Thursday morning.
Truesdell said a search warrant obtained by the Fayette County Sheriff's Department in connection with the Benoit investigation was executed there.
He said records and other items were being sought, but he said he could not immediately be more specific. Truesdell also was unable to say what was seized. No arrests were made.
Benoit had been under the care of Astin, a longtime friend, for treatment of low testosterone levels. Astin said Wednesday the condition likely originated from previous steroid use.
Astin prescribed testosterone for Benoit in the past but would not say what, if any, medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office on Friday.
Postuar nga Duane në 8:52 e pasdites
Fox News really reaches by trying to make a link between Sherri and the Benoits in that they all knew Kevin Sullivan.
A week to the day before pro wrestling wife Nancy Benoit was found murdered in her suburban Atlanta home, the body of former pro wrestler and manager Sherri Martel was discovered in her mother's Alabama home, the cause of death unknown.
Martel, a pro wrestler in the WWE Hall of Fame who went by the ring name "Sensational Sherri," and who later managed the likes of "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Ric Flair and "Macho Man" Randy Savage, was found dead by her husband Robert Schrull at her mother's home in McCalla, Ala., on June 15, according to the Tuscaloosa News newspaper.
Linking Martel to the deaths of Nancy and husband Chris Benoit and their son Daniel is former pro wrestler Kevin Sullivan, a man once married to Nancy Benoit and who also was Martel's friend and booker.
Following World Wrestling Entertainment's announcement of Martel's death, wrestling Web sites quickly began speculating about case.
Dave Metzler of Wrestling Observer Live told his audience that she did not die of natural causes, saying "this was not a typical wrestler's death," according to reports. But Capt. Loyd Baker of the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit told the Tuscaloosa News that foul play was not suspected in her death.
"The cause of death is pending her autopsy and toxicology report," he said June 19. An officer in the homicide unit told FOXNews.com that those results could take months to be finished.
Martel began her career in the early 1980s and later went on to manage more than 15 wrestlers including Ric Flair and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
“Everyone respected her," said Bruce Mitchell, a columnist for the Pro Wrestling Torch newsletter and Web site, told the Tuscaloosa News. "She was an attractive lady, but she wasn’t just eye-candy.
"She was really a pioneer and a trailblazer."
One popular wrestling site, PWTorch.com, reports that Kevin Sullivan, then married to Nancy, tried to pair Martel with wrestler Ric Flair as part of a scripted Nicole Brown/O.J. Simpson ring drama, but that "work" was abandoned.
PWTorch.com writes that in early 1996, Martel became involved in a strange "work" — or scripted — feud between Sullivan and wrestler Brian Pillman. The match reportedly got out of hand, and spilled into a backstage confrontation involving Martel and the then-Nancy Sullivan. Reports of the incident say that the argument escalated with Martel spitting on Nancy Sullivan.
Martel reportedly was later fired.
Several wrestling blogs reported that Martel had a drug problem and had entered a 21-day rehab program, but investigating police would not comment.
PWTorch.com quoted her in 2005 saying, "I slip back every now and again, but I am trying my best."
Kevin Sullivan, meanwhile, spoke earlier this week FOXNews.com, and expressed shock and sadness over the death of his former wife in her suburban Atlanta home.
Sullivan married the former Nancy Daus in 1985. The couple was still married in the 1990s when a scripted rivalry between Benoit and Sullivan in the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW) resulted in Benoit as the victor on the mat. However, a real romance blossomed between Benoit and Nancy, who eventually split with Sullivan and married Benoit in 2000.
From his home in Tavernier, Fla., in the Florida Keys, where he owns and runs a gym called Froggy’s Fitness with his wife, Linda, Sullivan said he had not spoken to his ex-wife since their split. He told FOXNews.com he learned of the grisly crime, which reportedly took place over several days, from television news on Monday evening.
“It’s surreal,” said Sullivan, who did not have children with Nancy Benoit. “She was a nice person. We just went our separate ways. She was nice and very loving and I’m sure she was a good mother.”
Sullivan said he did not know Benoit well outside the ring. “I never associated with him, so I really don’t know his personality,” he said. … “[But] I’m sad for all three, especially the child.”
Postuar nga Duane në 8:13 e pasdites
e mërkurë, 27 qershor 2007
Don Wahlers puts into words what I have been feeling about this tragedy.
For once in my life, I am at a loss for words. There
are really no words that can adequately describe how I
feel about the events of the past two days. The
apparent murder of Nancy and Daniel Benoit at the
hands of Chris Benoit, and then his subsequent suicide
is just something that I can’t even begin to fully
comprehend or accept. But I’m going to attempt to put
my feelings down in words, because it’s what you guys
would expect from me.
This is a column I never ever wanted to have to write.
I wish I could just crawl in a hole, and make believe
it never happened. But unfortunately, this is real
life, and it did happen. Three people are dead, and
the circumstances surrounding the deaths will just
make your head spin. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen
I got the horrendous news this past Monday afternoon,
"Chris Benoit and family dead." My initial reaction
was that this was someone’s idea of a really bad joke.
It had to be a joke. It just couldn’t be true. Not
another one. Not Chris Benoit. Please tell me it’s
not true. Those are the things I kept telling myself
as I came online to confirm the news, hoping against
all hope that it wasn’t true. Actually, hoping that
this was another sick WWE angle. What the hell, why
wouldn’t they go this far, I thought. There are no
lines Vince McMahon won’t cross. So why not? My
greatest fears were realized when I logged onto
Wrestling Observer.com, and saw the post from Dave
Meltzer. My heart sank, and tears began streaming
down my face.
In my 22 years of watching wrestling, this is the
worst thing that has ever happened. It may very well
be the worst thing to ever happen in the history of
the wrestling business. You’d be hard pressed to find
a more unbelievably tragic, and disturbing turn of
events. Three days later I still can’t come to terms
with what happened. I can’t believe that Chris Benoit
is dead, and I can’t even begin to grasp the fact that
he murdered his own wife and son. It’s like a bad
nightmare that you can’t wake up from. How could
something like this happen? There have been so many
wrestling deaths, and some have been sadder than
others. But this one affected me more than any other.
Chris Benoit was on a pedestal to me. He was a man
that I admired and respected perhaps more than any
other wrestler. I loved watching him compete in the
ring, whether it was the main event, or the opening
match. I can’t even believe I’m writing about him in
the past tense today. That is so incredibly messed
up. Benoit was one of my favorite wrestlers of
all-time, and I’m not one of those people that’s just
saying that because he’s dead. Anyone that knows me
knows how much I loved Chris Benoit, and how much of a
mark I was for him. Hell, if you like the true art of
professional wrestling, you have to be a mark for
Chris Benoit. The guy did it better than anyone I’ve
As far as what he accomplished in the ring, he will go
down as one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of
boots, and nothing that happened this week will ever
change that fact. But I will never look at Chris
Benoit the same way again. I will never watch a Chris
Benoit match the same way. The love, respect, and
admiration I had for him as a wrestler will always be
there, and that will never change. But the love,
respect, and admiration I had for him as a person is
gone. As a person, I am disgusted and repulsed by his
actions. As a person he is a murderer. There’s no
other way to put it.
Killing your wife is bad enough, but to kill your
innocent 7 year old son, there are no words to express
how immoral that is on every possible level. That, to
me, is the most revolting part of this whole ordeal.
And that is the part I am having the hardest time
trying to come to terms with in my own head.
All I can imagine is that Chris had some very deep
rooted mental problems, and whether they were caused
by steroid abuse, drug abuse, or whatever it might be,
one thing is very clear. You have to be fucked up in
the head to do something like this. And it hurts me
so much to think of Chris Benoit in that way, but
there is no possible way to sugercoat this, or dress
it up to make it look nice. As much as I wish I
The reports are that Chris tied up and gagged his wife
Nancy, and then choked her to death. He then
smothered his son with a plastic garbage bag as young
Daniel was apparently sleeping. I can’t even imagine
how terrified Daniel must have been as his father was
literally squeezing the life out of him. I want to
cry when I think about it. How can a father kill his
own son? How can someone go so far off the deep end
that murdering your own wife and son becomes a valid
option? I can’t fathom how that is possible.
He supposedly murdered his wife and son over the
course of a couple days, and then sat in the house
with the dead bodies for a day or two. Those are not
the actions of a sane person. Those are the actions
of a person that has broken all ties with reality, and
I have no idea what could have drove Chris to take
such drastic, final actions. Did he have an argument
with Nancy, and he just snapped in the moment, or was
this something he planned out? I have no answers,
only a million questions swirling around in my head.
And these are questions that there will never be any
answers to, because the answers died with Chris.
That’s why I say he must have been suffering from some
severe emotional and mental problems, and we as
wrestling fans would have had no knowledge of that.
All we saw was the character he portrayed on TV every
week. That’s all these people are. They are
characters on TV. We have no idea what they’re like
in real life, or what’s really going on in their head.
I would have never believed in a million years that
Chris Benoit would be capable of doing something so
heinous. But obviously, I, nor anyone else knew the
real Chris Benoit. It was stupid of me to place a man
I didn’t even know on such a high pedestal in my life.
Immediately after his death was announced, I wanted so
much to be able to write a nice bio piece on Chris,
and talk about some of my best memories of him. I
wanted to write about being there live at Madison
Square Garden for Wrestlemania 20, the night Chris
realized his greatest dream, and the emotion I felt
seeing him finally win the World Heavyweight
Championship. That was a highlight of my life as a
wrestling fan. I don’t know that anything will ever
top that night. It’s a memory I will always treasure.
It was the perfect storybook ending. Chris Benoit and
Eddie Guerrero, two smaller guys that had always been
overlooked for title consideration in the past,
standing in the middle of MSG hugging, both as World
Champions in WWE. It didn’t get any bigger or better
than that. Three years later, both men are gone.
What a cruel twist of fate that is. Who could have
I wanted to talk about Benoit’s best matches, and most
memorable feuds today. I wanted to talk about how
much he meant to me, and how much I loved watching him
work. I wanted to honor and remember his Hall of Fame
career. But that became impossible when the news came
out that he had murdered his family. How can you
honor someone that did something so despicable?
An entire career that took more than 20 years of
blood, sweat, and tears to build will forever be
tarnished because of what happened this week. People
will no longer look at Chris Benoit as one of the
greatest wrestlers of all-time. They will look at
Chris Benoit as a murderer. It will never be, "Oh
yeah, remember that great match he had with Dean
Malenko." It will instead be, "Oh yeah, isn’t he the
guy that murdered his wife and son, and then killed
himself." And in the end, that may be one of the many
reasons Chris decided to take his own life. It was
indeed a tragic end to a storied career. And it’s
something I still can’t believe I’m writing about. I
don’t think I will ever understand.
Chris Benoit was one of my heroes, he was someone that
I looked up to for his work ethnic, and the way he
carried himself. He was such a class act, the kind of
guy you wanted to pattern yourself after. There are
few wrestlers that I respected and admired more than
him. But that illusion was shattered this week. It
was shattered into a million pieces. I will never
think of Chris Benoit the same way. And that makes me
very sad, and hurts me down deep in my heart and soul.
Three lives were ended this week, a brilliant career
was forever stained, a wife and mother lost her life,
and a 7 year old boy will never get the chance to grow
up, and experience all the best that life has to
offer. His live brutally snuffed out by his very own
father. There are no words in the English language or
any other language to express how deeply sad I am
about this, and how much I wish this never happened,
and I had been watching Chris Benoit defend the ECW
World Title for the first time last night, instead of
writing the most heart wrenching, painful column I
have ever written.
My deepest heartfelt condolences to the family and
friends of the Benoit family, and anyone that was
affected by this horrible tragedy. My profound
sympathy to the victims in this, Nancy and Daniel
Benoit. May you both rest in peace, and find your
Goodbye Chris. Thanks for the memories, and for all
the classic wrestling matches. I may never be able to
forgive you for your unspeakable actions, but I will
certainly never forget you for what you brought to the
wrestling business, and the joy you brought into my
life. Unfortunately, that joy ended on Monday June
25, 2007. A date that will remain etched in mine, and
every other wrestling fans memory forever. Things
will never be the same again.
Postuar nga Duane në 11:23 e pasdites
NY Times article which quotes Christopher Nowinski about the possibility of a head injury causing Benoit to do this unspeakable crime.
Though toxicology tests will not be completed for weeks, the presence of steroids in the home has led wrestling observers to speculate that the wrestler may have snapped in an episode of “’roid rage.”
But Christopher Nowinski, a former professional wrestler who worked with Mr. Benoit, and who was forced to quit because of head injuries, said he believed that repeated, untreated concussions might have caused his friend to snap.
“He was one of the only guys who would take a chair shot to the back of the head,” Mr. Nowinski said, “which is stupid.”
Mr. Nowinski has written a book called “Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis” (Drummond Publishing Group, 2006), about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition that can cause memory loss, depression and “bizarre, paranoid behavior.”
Mr. Nowinski said that he had been trying to persuade the coroner examining Mr. Benoit to allow a brain exam to look for the telltale neurofibrillary tangles in the brain’s cortex, but that he had thus far been rebuffed.
“Part of me hopes there was something wrong with his brain,” Mr. Nowinski said. “The Chris Benoit I knew was always more concerned about everybody else’s well-being than his own.”
Postuar nga Duane në 11:18 e pasdites
e hënë, 25 qershor 2007
no, no, no.....Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy "Woman" Benoit, and 7 year old son Daniel were found dead in their Atlanta area home.
A well-known professional wrestler and his family were found dead inside their house in Fayette County Monday afternoon.
Authorities confirmed that Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their 7-year-old son, Daniel, were found dead at the home on Quarters and Redwine roads in Fayetteville about 4 p.m.
Officials would not say how the family died, other than to say they weren't shot to death.
Benoit, a 40-year-old Canadian native maintained a home in metro Atlanta from the time he wrestled for the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling.
Most recently, Benoit fought as part of the World Wrestling Entertainment organization. WWE canceled its live show in Corpus Christi Monday night, and its broadcast of "Raw" on the USA Network was a three-hour retrospective on Benoit's career.
"Obviously, all sorts of speculation are running rampant but I have talked to so many people and nobody really knows [whether the couple was having marital troubles]," said Bryan Alvarez, who runs Figurefour Weekly, a wrestling newsletter and Web site, from Linwood, Washington.
Benoit was scheduled to appear in a pay-per-view title match Sunday night, but was a no-show due to a "family emergency," the WWE said during the broadcast.
Benoit's wife, Nancy, managed several wrestlers and went by the stage name, "Woman."
They met when her then-husband drew up a script that had them involved in a relationship as part of an ongoing storyline on World Championship Wrestling.
Soon after, the two became romantically involved in real life and married, Alvarez said.
Benoit has two other children from a prior relationship.
Postuar nga Duane në 8:50 e pasdites
e shtunë, 23 qershor 2007
Here is the listing for Hogan's house.
Significant, gated Country French estate sitting high on a bluff with stunning views of the Intracoastal and Gulf of Mexico. One-of-a-kind manor featuring exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail with fine construction materials imported from around the world. Over 17,000 square feet of gracious living space featuring separate pool house and guest quarters. The more than one and a half acre gated property is beautifully manicured and spotted with century old oaks. Multiple garages, 2 boat lifts and floating dock provide plenty of room for cars and personal watercrafts. Exclusive tree-lined street located less than 30 minutes from both Executive and International airports. Enjoy the utmost in privacy and security behind the gates of this very special home.
Postuar nga Duane në 4:54 e pasdites
e martë, 19 qershor 2007
Dan Wahlers lets Vince know how he feels about the death angle.
On behalf of the millions of people you
offended, I’m here to tell you that this entire
storyline is totally, 100 percent WRONG!!!!! It’s
wrong for all of the reasons I mentioned already.
It’s not going to do anything to help your business,
and if anything it’s going to, and already has turned
quite a few people off. You went way over the lines
of human decency, as you have done too many times in
The exploding limousine was one thing. The worked
stories on WWE.com, the ten bell salute, the
announcers on the air fake crying, the wrestlers
standing on the stage, the video testimonials from
your suck ass, gutless employees, that was all way too
much. It went from being something that might have
actually worked to being something that was just plain
damned disgusting and obscene.
It’s time for you to do the right thing, and end this
fiasco right now. Only you have the power to do it.
Only you have the power to put a stop to this.
Realize and admit that you made a mistake. Realize
and admit that you crossed the line, and offended a
lot of people. Realize and admit that you urinated
all over the memory of the wrestlers that have really
died over the years, and have had the ten bell salute
used to pay respect to them.
Realize and admit that doing something like this is
not the way improve your struggling PPV business, or
prop up your TV ratings. Realize and admit that the
death of "Sensational" Sherri Martel this past Friday
proves once again that death, and especially deaths in
wrestling is not something to be used as material for
your next storyline. Death is not something to be
trivialized in any way. It’s something that affects
people every day in the most real and tragic of ways.
Think about how those people feel watching trash like
this? Do you even care? I don’t know that you do.
I ask you to please pull the plug on this storyline
now. Use the idea I mentioned last week, about "your
body" being found badly burned, and the Mr, McMahon
character disappearing to recover for however many
months you want. That way you get away from the death
aspect of it, and you can build a reasonable storyline
for your return, which is what we all know you want to
But get away from the death aspect of the storyline.
End it all right here, and right now. Do the right
thing for once. Please. If you don’t, you will find
out in time that this was one of the biggest mistakes
you’ve ever made business-wise. And considering the
many blunders and missteps in your career, Vince, that
covers a hell of a lot of ground.
Postuar nga Duane në 7:11 e pasdites
Article in the New York Times about sports related concussions, Chris Nowinski gets a mention.
Strzelczyk, 6 feet 6 inches and 300 pounds, was a monstrous presence on the Steelers’ offensive line from 1990-98. He was known for his friendly, banjo-playing spirit and gluttony for combat. He spiraled downward after retirement, however, enduring a divorce and dabbling with steroid-like substances, and soon before his death complained of depression and hearing voices from what he called “the evil ones.” He was experiencing an apparent breakdown the morning of Sept. 30, 2004, when, during a 40-mile high-speed police chase in central New York, his pickup truck collided with a tractor-trailer and exploded, killing him instantly.
Largely forgotten, Strzelczyk’s case was recalled earlier this year by Dr. Julian Bailes, the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at West Virginia University and the Steelers’ team neurosurgeon during Strzelczyk’s career. (Bailes is also the medical director of the University of North Carolina’s Center for the Study of Retired Athletes and has co-authored several prominent papers identifying links between concussions and later-life emotional and cognitive problems.) Bailes suggested to Omalu that Strzelczyk’s brain tissue might be preserved at the local coroner’s office, a hunch that proved correct.
Mary Strzelczyk granted permission to Omalu and his unlikely colleague, the former professional wrestler Christopher Nowinski, to examine her son’s brain for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Nowinski, a former Harvard football player who retired from wrestling because of repeated concussions in both sports, has become a prominent figure in the field after spearheading the discovery earlier this year of C.T.E. inside the brain of Andre Waters, the former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back who committed suicide last November at age 44.
Tests for C.T.E., which cannot be performed on a living person other than through an intrusive tissue biopsy, confirmed the condition in Strzelczyk two weeks ago. Omalu and Nowinski visited Mary Strzelczyk’s home near Buffalo on Wednesday to discuss the family’s psychological history as well as any experiences Justin might have had with head trauma in and out of sports. Mary Strzelczyk did not recall her son’s having any concussions in high school, college or the N.F.L., and published Steelers injury reports indicated none as well.
Omalu remained confident that the damage was caused by concussions Strzelczyk might not have reported because — like many players of that era — he did not know what a concussion was or did not want to appear weak. Omalu also said that it could have developed from what he called “subconcussive impacts,” more routine blows to the head that linemen repeatedly endure.
“Could there be another cause? Not to my knowledge,” said Bailes, adding that Strzelczyk’s car crash could not have caused the C.T.E. tangles. Bailes also said that bipolar disorder, signs of which Strzelczyk appeared to be increasingly exhibiting in the months before his death, would not be caused, but perhaps could be exacerbated, by the encephalopathy.
Omalu and Bailes said Strzelczyk’s diagnosis is particularly notable because the condition manifested itself when he was in his mid-30s. The other players were 44 to 50 — several decades younger than what would be considered normal for their conditions — when they died: Long and Waters by suicide and Webster of a heart attack amid significant psychological problems.
Two months ago, Omalu examined the brain tissue of one other deceased player, the former Denver Broncos running back Damien Nash, who died in February at 24 after collapsing following a charity basketball game. (A Broncos spokesman said that the cause of death has yet to be identified.) Omalu said he was not surprised that Nash showed no evidence of C.T.E. because the condition could almost certainly not develop in someone that young. “This is a progressive disease,” he said.
Omalu and Nowinski said they were investigating several other cases of N.F.L. players who have recently died. They said some requests to examine players’ brain tissue have been either denied by families or made impossible because samples were destroyed.
Bailes, Nowinski and Omalu said that they were forming an organization, the Sports Legacy Institute, to help formalize the process of approaching families and conducting research. Nowinski said the nonprofit program, which will be housed at a university to be determined and will examine the overall safety of sports, would have an immediate emphasis on exploring brain trauma through cases like Strzelczyk’s. Published research has suggested that genetics can play a role in the effects of concussion on different people.
“We want to get a idea of risks of concussions and how widespread chronic traumatic encephalopathy is in former football players,” Nowinski said. “We are confident there are more cases out there in more sports.”
Postuar nga Duane në 7:08 e pasdites
Sensational Sherri Martel has passed away at 49.
Sherri Schrull died quietly at her mother’s house on Friday afternoon. But “Sensational Sherri," as professional wrestling fans knew her, lived loudly.
Considered one of the first ladies of wrestling, Sherri Martel, 49, was a WWE Hall of Famer, and an AWA and WWF championship titleholder.
Her husband found her dead at her mother’s home in the McCalla community on the Tuscaloosa-Jefferson County line Friday afternoon, said Capt. Loyd Baker, commander of the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit.
Baker said foul play is not suspected.
“The cause of death is pending her autopsy and toxicology report," he said Monday.
She had gone to bed because she wasn’t feeling well, Baker said, and her husband later found her unresponsive at 12:45 p.m. at the home on Eastern Valley Road, where she had been living for the past year.
Martel wrestled in the 1980s but became more high profile when she “managed" wrestling superstars like Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, and “Macho Man" Randy Savage. She was notorious for antagonizing good guys in professional wrestling.
Professional wrestling managers hardly perform typical managerial duties. They function as sidekicks, usually for villains, whose antics turn the audience against the wrestler.
“She was very good at knowing what to do ringside to get people agitated and interested," said Bruce Mitchell, a columnist for the Pro Wrestling Torch newsletter and Web site. “You knew you would get a show when you watched Sensational Sherri."
Martel wore elaborate costumes that fit her persona; she would paint her face with dramatic make-up. When she managed, she was known to run around ringside swinging at wrestlers with a brick-filled purse or a shoe.
“She’d dress up like a wicked witch in a bridal costume, for example," Mitchell said. “She was way over the top."
Martel, however, was unlike the busty, bikini-clad female wrestlers on television today, he said.
“She would fall into a table, get thrown around the ring and never complain. She loved it."
“Everyone respected her. She was an attractive lady, but she wasn’t just eye-candy," he said. “She was really a pioneer and a trailblazer."
Interviews with Martel published online indicate that she was born Sherri Russell in New Orleans. She said in one interview that she grew up watching wrestling matches with her mother and began training at 20. She trained under the famous “The Fabulous Moolah," reputedly the first female wrestling champion.
She broke into the business by wrestling at small promotional events in Memphis and working her way up.
She was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
“She paved the road for a lot of others to follow," WWE chairman Vince McMahon said at the event.
Wrestling fans have posted tribute videos and messages to Martel on Internet sites like YouTube.
Mitchell said that Martel, despite her status in the community, was just a wrestling fan herself. He said he saw her at conventions and events in recent years.
“She was just like a fan, having a good time and hanging out," he said.
Postuar nga Duane në 7:02 e pasdites
e diel, 17 qershor 2007
Article in my local paper today about Paul Wight: The large price of fame and fortune
It would seem even if he never wrestles, that Wight will be OK.
There was a moment when the giant looked reborn. He moved with grace, bounced his fist off his opponent’s skull, primed himself for victory.
What a way to go out it would be, to retire as world heavyweight champion. The Big Show is winning this wrestling match, pounding Bobby Lashley into oblivion. The only thing left is the Big Show’s finishing move, the devastating ...
Hold it. In a flash, Lashley flips the switch. Now he is pounding the Big Show. One ... two ... three punches and a running elbow that knocks the giant on his back. This is no way to go out — no way to begin the final descent of the Big Show’s career, looking up at a snarling opponent.
Look around. Thousands have piled into James Brown Arena on this night, a Sunday in December. They came for this, to watch this main event and to watch the Big Show, who grew up less than an hour from the arena. In here, he is an attraction. Listed at 7 feet and 507 pounds, he is something to see. He is one of the largest characters in a business of tall tales.
Out there, outside the ring and beyond the spotlights, he is Paul Wight. He grew up in New Holland, a town in rural Aiken County. He was a football player and all-state basketball player at Batesburg’s W.W. King Academy.
In here, he is marketable. His size has earned him millions of dollars, a house on a Florida lake and a diverse career as a wrestler, actor and businessman. Without his looming body, none of it would have been possible.
Out there, his size represents a health risk. Wight is morbidly obese and has an enlarged heart. His work and travel schedules allow little time for proper rest and nutrition, which has prevented many of his injuries from healing. He cannot stand for more than a few minutes. He cannot sit for much longer.
Wight is 35 years old, but his mother, Dorothy, says her only son’s body operates as if it were 40 years older.
Wight’s size was partly caused by a tumor on his pituitary gland, which controls growth and tells most bodies to stop growing at a certain age. The tumor, which prevented those signals from reaching his brain, was removed when Wight was 19 ... and 7 feet tall ... and nearly 350 pounds.
It would seem even if he never wrestles, that Wight will be OK.
Three months after his WWE contract expired, Wight is gone. He is gone from wrestling. Gone from the United States and its demands. Reality, it would appear, can wait.
Dorothy Wight said her son and his wife, Bess, spent last month on vacation in Greece. It is Wight’s chance to relax, unbutton his trousers and exhale.
For now, Wight can wrestle when he wants — and not one match more. A report on a pro wrestling Web site stated Wight wrestled Hulk Hogan, a longtime friend, last month in a small-promotion show in Memphis.
During a news conference before that match, Wight said he no longer would wrestle under the name “the Big Show,” a moniker he jokingly referred to in April as his “slave name.”
Wight said he was tired of living at the mercy of others, presumably promoters who profit from his obesity. It is a role he has played for more than a decade and one he played flawlessly. Wight sacrificed his body and his health in exchange for fame and fortune. It is a trade that eventually wore thin.
Dorothy Wight said Bess, who also works as Wight’s manager, has invested much of the money Wight earned from his various occupations. Dorothy Wight said the couple would have no problem living comfortably, even if Wight never returns to wrestling.
Wight has lived 35 years as a giant, part of a tall tale. He might spend the next decade undoing the damage he did to his body during the past 13 years. Wight said during the Memphis news conference that he had lost 60 pounds since retiring after the December show in Augusta. He said he feels better, mentally and physically, than he has in more than a decade.
“Paul Wight, not the Big Show, is very intelligent,” Dorothy Wight says. “Paul Wight is funny. He’s articulate. He’s a clown. He reads. He’s Stephen King and Star Trek. Heavy stuff. When you get to know Paul the guy, he’s a good, loyal friend.”
Wight came to a crossroad that night in Augusta. There was something about the way he walked up the ramp after losing to Lashley. There was something about the way he paused and stared into the crowd. It was as if he was saying goodbye.
Less than 50 miles from his home, where the growth started and the wild stories of a giant man took flight, Wight turned and walked away. It was in Augusta that Paul Wight took the first steps out of the Big Show’s skin.
Perhaps Wight realized tall tales are better without a sad ending.
Postuar nga Duane në 3:49 e pasdites