Wednesday, July 18, 2007

MSNBC's Dan Abrams: Benoit Story

Last night both CNN Headline News and MSNBC had guests on to discuss the Benoit toxicology report, including the WWE's attorney, the doctor from the company who administers the drug tests on WWE stars, and a few current/former wrestlers, Steve Blackman, Konan and Marc "Wildman" Mero.

Mero continues to lobby and push for more to be done and for WWE to "step up to the plate" because so many wrestlers are dying young. Konan added in that the pressure to look good extends to the males and females in WWE, and contributes to the problems. Steve Blackman put on a bit of a defense for WWE in saying that its apparent "roid rage" is not the issue here and there is other evidence to be found and looked at to determine what happened in the Benoit home.

The interesting part of the story was how MSNBC's Dan Abrams tried to say the Georgia Medical Examiner seemed to be putting up a defense for the WWE. From what I saw of the press conference, he presented the information in a factual and scientific manner. When asked questions by the media he gave answers related to what various medications and drugs could be used for, but never said that he had proof of what they were used for in Benoit. He did not claim that Benoit never used steroids. He didn't say Benoit had testosterone in his system for any particular reason and noted that many men in this country take testosterone for testicular problems. The defense attorney for Dr. Phil Astin (Benoit's doctor) and the WWE attorney both cited the GA medical examiner's comments to say Benoit had not been using anabolic steroids. This can't be concluded from what was presented at the press conference, as traces of steroids do leave the body over a period of time, and the fact that steroids were found present in the Benoit residence.

The important messages in this are still that people make poor choices in their lives which can lead to problems, but that the employer can help prevent them from a downfall as well. I still agree the WWE can do more to help its superstars and prevent future tragedies. For example, aside from drug testing, a counseling/mental health program would be the most important aspect to look at. The stresses that life as a wrestler carries as well as the demands they put on their bodies came take a serious toll physically and mentally. This leads to various mental health complications which then result in poor choices in drug abuse and can ultimately result in death. The WWE claims its drug testing is a very good program, but very good can always be improved. I still feel that Marc Mero, while most likely concerned over the problems, is trying to make his name more public in the light of the tragedy. One other point of note, the WWE's attorney indicated that Benoit had been keeping a private diary since the death of Eddie Guerrero and this may hold some insight into Benoit's "dark side" or his downfall.

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