As the majority of wrestling fans, and those in the business are aware by now, Brian Jossie, who played Abraham Washington , the manager of the WWE tag team The Prime Time Players ( Titus O’Neil, and Darren Young) was fired by WWE for his controversial comments two weeks ago on Raw. My friend, and editor, Eric Gargiulo wrote an excellent blog about the incident, and gave his views. In the blog, (http://camelclutchblog.com/wwe-fires-abraham-washington-over-kobe-bryant-joke/ )Eric brings up quite a few inconsistencies concerning WWE’s handling of women, and rape situations. After all, it was the infamous Kobe joke that Washington uttered that caused him to be fired. Here is the “joke” again: “He’s like Kobe Bryant at a hotel in Colorado! He’s unstoppable!”
Well, I am going to get started with the so called “joke” itself, and Washington’s ultimate punishment. First of all, rape is a terrible crime. Rape is NOT something to joke about. I totally understand that he was, as they say “in the moment,” and “on a roll,” and sometimes an off color remark will slip out. I had aspirations to be a concert violinist, and I have messed up onstage, so I have an idea what it is like to be up there in that spotlight, under that pressure. However, Washington really should have known a rape joke was not appropriate. He knew he was on a LIVE program. On twitter, some of his followers were blaming it on “PG.” What does that have to do with anything? Rape is not a joke. Besides, I am sure Kobe Bryant, who was ACCUSED was not happy. After all, there was quite a bit of publicity, and for his name to be dragged into the whole thing, I am sure his reps were not happy either.
Rape hurts the victim not only physically, but also psychologically. Victims can be harmed mentally for years. They start thinking it is their fault. If people they know find out, they will ask the victim dumb questions like “Were you drunk?” “What were you wearing?” Rape is a violent act. There are many reasons victims do not report it. They get victimized by their attacker, and then by the so called justice system, and if the police catch the alleged perpetrator, the victim has to relieve the whole ordeal all over again, as the defense attorney tries to put HER on trial. That is why I don’t think rape is a joke.
Now, should Washington have been fired for his “joke?” As much as I absolutely HATED his so called “joke,” and I truly did, I am going to honestly say that I think WWE firing Washington went too far. I have a few reasons. First off, as most people know, Washington went on twitter, and sincerely apologized. WWE apologized. I thought that there were other ways to punish Washington than to fire him. They could have fined him, and taken his push away. They could have done an angle where he accidentally screws up something with The Prime Time Players, and either the PTP “temporarily banish him or fire him,” or the GM or whomever could fire him, and he could be sent back to FCW for a month. I still believe there were no excuses for that joke, but to fire someone for what was a slip of the tongue type of thing is a bit harsh.
I also wonder why couldn’t WWE have sent Washington to a sensitivity training class like they supposedly sent Michael Cole when Cole used an anti-gay slur on twitter towards Josh Matthews? I mean, Cole didn’t get fired for that? A day after Washington told his joke, Tensai was caught on twitter making a racial slur, and he had to apologize. He was not fired, even though his comment was deemed “inappropriate.” Michael Hayes was suspended 60 days in April of 2008 for calling Mark Henry the N word, and had to undergo training. My point is that there have been people who have done inappropriate things, and said inappropriate things within the last few years that were just as disgusting as what Washington did/said, and didn’t get fired. I just felt there were other ways to handle him without firing him.
One point that I want to bring out that Eric Gargiulo did in his blog was that Raw is Live with a 6 second delay, just in case the wrestlers, or anyone curse accidentally. Well, why didn’t the person running the quality control make sure what Washington said was not heard by the TV Viewers? I am not so sure that HE or SHE was the one who should have been fired.
The ULTIMATE hypocrisy is WWE’s dealing with Mike Tyson. Tyson was convicted of rape on February 10, 1992, and was released in March of 1995. Now, I am not going to rehash the cash, and the merits of the case against the guy are totally irrelevant to this blog. The point is that Tyson was CONVICTED. There is no argument. One’s opinion does not count. It is on his record that he is a convicted rapist. In approximately January, or February of 1998, Vince McMahon brings Tyson in for an eventual angle with DX. Tyson becomes the “Special enforcer” for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 14 between Shawn Michaels (C) vs Stone Cold Steve Austin. As everyone knows, Austin wins the Title when the ref is out, and Tyson screws HBK, and counts Austin as the winner. Post match, Tyson reveals a Stone Cold shirt, and punches HBK.
Since then, Tyson has been featured on Raw a few times, and on March 31, 2012, was inducted into the Celebrity Wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. While I understand his importance in WWE history, somewhat, the idea that a CONVICTED RAPIST is in the WWE HALL OF FAME is just so contrary to the “family” image that WWE wants to portray. I am guessing that WWE is trying to take the “moral high ground” by firing Washington. Well, how can WWE claim the moral high ground when on one hand, they fire a guy for making a rape joke, and on the other hand , have a RAPIST in their HALL OF FAME?
In conclusion, while WWE may feel they are doing their audience a service by firing Washington, they are just doing a lot of doublespeak.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/GioPontiFan
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