Mushnick's Vinnie Mac fetish is blinding him to what might be the real problem here. Wrestling's drug problems might stem just as much from the smaller, indy feds as anywhere else. Indy feds have to do crazier things to get noticed (ECW's hardcore style, which feds like XPW have taken to absurd levels, not to mention all the "spotfest" wrestlers who do crazy stunts) and tend to have more inexperienced/poorly trained wrestlers, which leads to bad bumps and little nagging aches... the sorts of things which lead to, say, painkiller addictions and the use of "performance enhancing" drugs like 'roids and coke to "keep your edge."
I'd wager the same thing is true, to an extent, of struggling actors. The frustration and stress of not getting that big break, having to make ends meet by taking an extra job 'cause your "career" doesn't pay the bills... that's a situation that's tailor-made for drugs and booze.
Granted, now, the big time gives the people more money with which to indulge, but I'd imagine more that just a few of those sorts of problems started long before they made it onto RAW or Nitro.
Kansas-born and deeply ashamed The last living La Parka Marka: HE raised the briefcase!
Mushnick isn't a crazed critic of pro wrestling, he's a fan. That's why he reads the Observer. If he appears to be singling out Vince McMahon it's because Vince is the one who the networks have been paying over the years. NBC doesn't televise indy promotions, so Mushnick wouldn't expect them to know much about the business at that level, but they have televised the WWF.
But it's true that the drug problem exists at every level of the industry. Guys at training schools and local indies are shooting steroids and taking painkillers to try to get ahead or keep their careers on track just like the pros.
It's really a cesspool, from the drugs and booze to the steroids to the exploitation of students by trainers to the exploitation of rats by wrestlers to the exploitation of wrestlers by promoters, all of which is made easier by the lack of visibility. Death is the obvious consequence, the undeniable cost, and the WWE is the only high profile promotion left, though Mushnick still referenced Turner, too.
So why am I a fan if I believe all of these things? Because being a fan and knowing the industry is a cesspool is not mutually exclusive. Because at points where I read about these things or saw them firsthand for myself my fandom didn't dissapate. I don't really need a "good" answer to satisfy myself. I find it a shame that other fans can't justify their fandom while also recognizing the problems so they choose to downplay the problems.
To me it's like maintaining pro wrestling isn't "fake" because one isn't comfortable justifying themself as a fan of a "fake" sport. For myself I know that I am still a fan despite the fakery and despite all the sleaziness in and around the business. I wish someone would clean it up, but few inside the business want to see any changes, from successful promoters like Vince McMahon to two-bit "Carny" hustlers like Roland Alexander.
Mushnick: If, every few weeks, an active NBA or NFL player just dropped dead, that would be front page news, no? Federal and state attorneys general would subpoena David Stern and Paul Tagliabue. They'd have years ago been ordered to explain why their players regularly drop dead.
CNNsi (this morning): Orioles pitcher Bechler dead at 23
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler died Monday morning, less than 24 hours after complaining of dizziness during a workout.
Team officials said Bechler was declared dead at 10:10 a.m. EST.
The 23-year-old pitcher spent the night in the intensive care unit at Northridge Medical Center. He was pale and feeling lightheaded Sunday while completing his final conditioning run on a back field at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, and he was taken from the complex by ambulance.
The initial diagnosis was heat exhaustion and dehydration, but his condition worsened after he arrived at the hospital.
Teammates were updated on Bechler's condition during a clubhouse meeting before taking the field for Monday's workout. They were summoned inside at 10:30 a.m. and told of his death.
I'm sure Mushnick meant to include MLB and Bud Selig on his list. And maybe, sometime, he can explain Donnie Moore to me.
Well, the Bechler situation might turn out to be another Korey Stringer kind of situation... they did find ephedra in his locker. It might end up being a league-by-league thing, and with this, you really think indy feds are gonna work that way? Maybe some responsible, decent-size ones could be proactive, but I don't see this changing much from within wrestling.
So WrestleMania is rapidly around the corner, and I'd LIKE to order it, but I just can't justify spending 50 bucks on a show just to sit on my couch and watch it by myself. And none of my friends are fans.