Brock Lesnar WWE Wellness Policy Exemption Considered Unfair ‘Double Standard’ Backstage
When news first broke that Brock Lesnar would not be suspended by WWE for failing two UFC drug tests, superstars backstage were pretty upset. But now that the word has gotten out that Brock is completely exempt from the policy altogether, the feelings in the locker room have reportedly flowered into outrage over the double standard of the Wellness Policy.
According to Dave Meltzer in the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer newsletter, when the locker room learned that Lesnar has never been tested at any time under the Wellness Policy, performers declared this to be an unfair double standard due in large part to the nature of part-timers’ contracts already:
While no performer in WWE is likely to publicly address the subject, because of the fear of calling attention to it, those aware privately called it a double standard. The key is that the part-timers are already far better paid than all but the top tier of full-timers, and then get the advantage of being able to have a better physical look just because they have more time to rest and train to begin with, but now get an even bigger advantage in that department because if they should choose to use PEDs, there is no fear of testing that the rest of the roster has.
Naturally, the part-timers listed as exempt from the policy are Lesnar, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Paul Levesque (Triple H), and Mark Callaway (The Undertaker). Granted, their exemption doesn’t mean they’re doped up. It simply means they aren’t subject to the same type of testing as the other, full-time performers.
Granted, not all of this is new information, considering the loophole was revealed during the investigation into WWE conducted by Congress following the Chris Benout murders in 2007. Apparently, when asked if he was being tested, WWE CEO Vince McMahon ducked the question by noting he was 62 years old. At the time, he was a part-time performer, and was still managing to make the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine. McMahon’s argument seemed to be that a part-time performer shouldn’t be subjected to the same testing as regular performers, since they aren’t doing 200+ matches per year like a full-timer. Meltzer goes on to explain the fallacy of this thought process:
The claim is that it is not a sport, so rules about cheating to win as PED usage in sports would include, aren’t germane to the product. If you look at the most shallow level, that would be true. But with about 20 seconds of thought, it makes no sense at all. WWE is very competitive, not as far as wins and losses, but as far as roster spots. There are far fewer spots on a WWE roster than in any major sports league. And unlike in sports, where you are judged on your performance in doing the sport and not how you look, in wrestling, cosmetic looks, which are very influenced by PED usage, gives one more of a competitive advantage than in a real sport. Besides, there is probably no real sport that has had the kind of health issues and young deaths that pro wrestling used to have before this program was put in place.
Ultimately, the biggest reason for Lesnar not being busted is that WWE doesn’t view the Wellness Policy as a “gotcha” policy, in that they aren’t actively trying to catch people using drugs. They’re just trying to make sure no one is going to drop dead on their watch from a combination of any number of factors prevalent among full-timers in the past, whether it’s prescription drug abuse, health concerns from the grueling travel schedule, or just normal wear-and-tear on the body. Hell, the mandatory physicals actually saved MVP’s life back in the mid-2000s, since they discovered a heart condition that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Still, it’s easy to question how much good the Wellness Policy is really doing when it appears to be so easy for certain guys to avoid it altogether. Granted, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen any active, contracted WWE performers pass away, so the policy must be doing something right. But it’s hard not to sympathize with the full-time performers, who are already getting paid less than the part-timers, but are held to a higher standard of testing.
What do you think of Brock Lesnar’s exemption and the WWE Wellness Policy itself? Sound off in the comments!