The Linda McMahon story everyone is talking about is whether World Wrestling Entertainment fired wrestler Bryan Danielson at the behest of McMahon’s Senate campaign. I’ll get to that shortly.
But the story everyone should be talking about is WWE’s medical director, Dr. Joseph Maroon, who is also a team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a consultant to the National Football League on concussion issues. The NFL almost certainly has thrown Maroon under the bus, along with every other league-affiliated doctor associated with a concussion policy that has come under heavy Congressional and media criticism.
My takeout here is that WWE’s own embrace of Maroon, the year following the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, suggests that the company is doing the least it can about concussions rather than the most. But so far the only person other than myself who has taken note of this intersection of facts is Mike Benoit, Chris’s father, who emailed me yesterday with the June 1 New York Times article about the NFL concussion team shakeup.
In the Senate campaign coverage, there hasn’t been a word about Dr. Maroon. And the wrestling media have been no better. Yesterday the Wrestling Observer/Figure 4 website update linked to the two-week-old Times story – which had no reference to wrestling – without elaboration. No one is mentioning the NFL/WWE overlap in Maroon’s work, or the six-month-old information on this blog that WWE and Maroon lied to ESPN about their access to studies of Benoit’s damaged brain.
See “NFL Severs Relationships With Past Concussion Docs – Does That Apply to WWE Medical Director Joseph Maroon?”, June 3, 2010, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/nfl-severs-relationships-with-past-concussion-docs-does-that-apply-to-wwe-medical-director-joseph-maroon/, and “Paging Dr. Joseph Maroon, Medical Director for Linda McMahon’s WWE,” December 30, 2009, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/paging-dr-joseph-maroonmedical-director-for-senate-candidate-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-wwe/.
Yesterday I faxed NFL spokesman Greg Aiello for an update on Maroon’s status with the NFL and the Steelers. In March, Aiello told me that Maroon was still on the league concussion committee, but that would seem to be contradicted by the reports, in The Times and elsewhere, that the new committee co-chairs have gone to great lengths to end all associations with the experts previously associated with a now-discredited policy.
Of course, I’ll share here any response I get from Aiello.
Next post: the Bryan Danielson mystery and whether his sacking was an illegal attempt by WWE to influence the Senate campaign of its former CEO.