Defense Of The Wellness Program
September 12, 2007 by Dave B.

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I'm going to defend the WWE for a minute here. With all the negative talk coming out about the Wellness Program and the WWE lately, I figured it was time somebody took the side of the WWE. And for the purposes of this column, let's call pro-wrestling a sport once again.

First things first: yes, there have been superstars test positive to banned substances. No, it's not good for business. But do we all honestly believe this is purely a WWE problem? Why should the WWE have to carry the can, so to speak? Look at the NFL, Major League Baseball, and even here in Australia we have rugby league stars, Aussie Rules stars, and soccer players testing positive for "banned substances." So far that's six different organisations with drug problems, and we've barely scratched the surface. We haven't even mentioned Olympic sports. US Congress (and the Australian Government) are investigating their sports stars, and sports leagues, and using them as a target. A soft target, I might add. Sporting Organisations are run by people who know how to run sporting organisations, not drug testing facilities. It's very easy to point the finger at them.

The problem is that drugs are not exclusively a sporting problem. They are inclusively a sporting problem. Drugs, whether illicit, recreational, or performance enhancing are a SOCIETY problem, they are not just present in sport. Sport is an important part of society, and just like society, there are going to be people struggling from drug dependency. And when you consider the pressures many sports stars are put under, either self imposed, or otherwise (which is not an excuse), it stands to reason that the percentage of people involved in some form of drugs in sporting organisations will be much higher than that of society.

But what benefit to society is it for US Congress to be spending time and money making enquiries into sporting organisations alone? Would it not be more beneficial to be actively trying to do something about the hundreds of thousands of people lying in the gutter right now with a needle in their arm? As far as I can tell, Johnny Accountant has the same amount of pressure in his life as Johnny Wrestler. He has bills to pay, a family to feed etc. His life is just as important. Isn't it? And saving lives is what US Congress is concerned about. Isn't it?

There is no legal requirement for the WWE to even have a Wellness Program, or test for drugs. None. They are doing it voluntarily, much like the Aussie Rules players over here. Leaving wrestling aside for a second, as far as I have been able to figure out, the AFL (Australian Football League) test players far more strictly than any other sporting organisation in the world. Voluntarily. Why? Or perhaps more accurately - for what purpose? It's because they have spotted a problem in society, and in their sport, and are trying to do something about it before it's too late. So is the WWE. Yet both organisations are being canned by all sorts of media experts and attention grabbing politicians for it. As I have said just up there a bit - there is no legal requirement for either organisation to test for drugs.

Once we look past all the hype, we see that these men and women in these organisations are just trying to earn a living. Just like US Congressmen, Australian politicians, actors, singers, dancers, auditors, carpenters, builders etc. Yet we never hear of government enquiries into those industries. Why not? Aren't their lives as important? Because surely that's what Congress is concerned about right? Saving lives? Isn't it? (Oh man, déjà vu)

One of my closest friends works in the building industry. He tells me there are so many people are on so many different drugs in his industry, that if there was an enquiry into that industry, it would probably go bust. Personally, I know shift workers and truck drivers (all employed at my place of work) who are on all sorts of uppers and downers, who wouldn't know one day from the next.

I leave you with two questions to ponder:
1) Why are athletes held to higher scrutiny than the rest of society?
2) Are Congressmen/Politicians just taking revenge for being flushed by the jocks in high school?

by Dave B. (View/Submit your feedback here)..

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