Friday, February 29th, 2008
(See also: Mark Kriegel, FoxSports.com, “Nothing fake about wrestling’s juicing problem,” http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7855250/Nothing-fake-about-wrestling’s-juicing-problem#.)
Below is my email to Mark Russell, Andrea Adelson, Jerry Greene, and David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel, and subsequent exchange with Adelson. Russell is the newspaper’s managing editor. Adelson is a reporter whose recent wrestling-related stories include one about how the city of Orlando marketed itself in order to get chosen by World Wrestling Entertainment as the site of this year’s WrestleMania. Greene and Whitley are sports columnists.
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 08:43:24 -0800 (PST)
From: Irvin Muchnick
Subject: Wrestling coverage
To: Mark Russell; Andrea Adelson; Jerry Greene; David Whitley
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I note that the Sentinel is giving a lot of coverage to WrestleMania, and properly so. I do not know if you have an “advertorial” sponsorship with World Wrestling Entertainment (as one of the Detroit newspapers did last year).
In any case, I encourage you to broaden your coverage as this big event approaches. I am author of Wrestling Babylon: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal, co-author of Benoit: Wrestling With the Horror That Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport, and at work on the forthcoming Chris and Nancy: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death. My blog is http://muchnick.net/babylon.
This week the chairman of WWE, Vince McMahon, no-showed a Congressional hearing on steroids in sports. The chairman of that committee, Congressman Bobby Rush, has vowed to persist in its investigation of drugs and death in wrestling.
McMahon, whose company is publicly traded and not permitted by the SEC to make false statements about its fiduciary obligations, put out the story that Floyd Mayweather is getting $20 million for WrestleMania. That is almost certainly not true.
To head off Congressional investigations, McMahon offered free substance-abuse rehab for former talent in need of it. One of several ex-wrestlers to take him up on the offer is Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who is now in rehab in the Atlanta area. McMahon plans to fly Roberts from rehab to Orlando to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on the eve of WrestleMania.
In short, there is a story of a pandemic of real deaths in the fake sport of wrestling, and it is at least as journalistically interesting as the story of fake records in the real sport of baseball. McMahon is happy to play off this story by incorporating it into his “angles” and storylines. You would well serve your readers by reporting all this thoroughly.
Subject: Re: Wrestling coverage
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 08:48:44 -0800
From: Adelson, Andrea
To: Irvin Muchnick
We have plans to write a steroids in wrestling story in the coming weeks. I hope it is OK to contact you for some background information and your insight.
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 08:50:14 -0800 (PST)
From: Irvin Muchnick
Subject: RE: Wrestling coverage
To: Adelson, Andrea
More than OK. Thanks.