AS I SEE IT 6/21: John Layfield....continued...

by: Bob Magee "I referred to a bunch of Internet guys, but the people I am referring to are not everyone who goes on the Internet; that is half of America. The people I am referring to are the guys who have their own Web sites, or who think they are reporters, which they are not.

Actually, when I referred to their questionable sexual orientation [in his column the previous month on WWE.com, where he implied that all Internet wrestling writers were either gay or had never had sex before] in a joking matter I was trying to say that they were mommaís boys. However, after seeing how upset they got, I realize I struck a chord. So, they feel like they have to defend their sexual orientation, which isnít what I intended; if they are homosexuals I have no prejudice against them, that is their business, and this is 2004."

So...rather than deal with the wrongness of his actions in Munich, Germany...that was what the WWE.com website allowed to be posted on June 15th via John Layfield's monthly column....blatant gay-baiting right on the level of a high school locker room.

Then, if that wasn't bad enough, how about this from last Thursday night's Smackdown? On Smackdown, John Layfield did a long promo against CNBC and the "liberal media". CNBC, of course just fired Layfield for his Hitler salute and goosestepping on a recent WWE show in Munich, Germany (the fact of which was never mentioned in all the hyping of this segment during this Smackdown episode). Layfield then proceeded to state he might as well "plead the Fifth... because the First Amendment does not mean a damn thing anymore".

The Fifth Amendment gives him the right to avoid self-incrimination, which might well be appropriate. The First Amendment applies to freedom of speech. But neither apply in Germany, not to mention that what he did is against the law in Germany.

I'm not sure what amendment applies for the most stupid comment in his rant...and one I can't believe the Viacom/UPN censors let by: "Not calling me a great American is like calling Mother Teresa a prostitute". While it was clearly said in character...it was a pretty stupid statement to make, even in character, and may throw fuel on the fire currently burning if any Catholic groups get ahold of it.

A close second was the remark: "Despite Ronald Reagan passing away, all the media wanted to talk about was him [Bradshaw]".

Yep..real class there...comparing his Bradshaw character to a former President of the United States in relative importance. I might be a left-wing Democrat, but even I know to be respectful of a former President...even one such as Ronald Reagan that I strongly disagreed with politically. Apparently Layfield (and WWE) doesn't know not to go there days after a National Day of Mourning, even if in character.

Layfield then went on the Howard Stern radio show Friday morning, and tried to brush off what he did in Munich, repeating that others have been doing similar heel tactics in Germany for years (not bothering to name which wrestlers) and how everywhere he goes he uses similar tactics (claiming that down south he brings up the KKK...although that's never been mentioned anywhere, either).

Layfield then falsely claimed that despite what's been reported, what he did wasn't illegal in Germany.

Wrong.

It's easy to find citations of when Germans have been charged with violating this law using basic search engines. One such example is found here citing a German policeman put on trial in Saarbruecken, Germany, for having made the Nazi salute.

Layfield then acknowledged that "wrestling websites that [he] offended" may well have had "something to do with the CNBC uproar", claiming again that "some guy that ran a small wrestling website from Florida" started the CNBC situation by "emailing them with wrong info about the situation".

Wrong and wrong.

Layfield was referring to Alex Marvez.

Alex Marvez is a syndicated wrestling and sports writer for Scripps Howard News Service, which is syndicated in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Denver Rocky Mountain News, Biloxi Sun-Herald, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Bakersfield Californian, Halifax Daily News, Corpus Christi Caller Times, Birmingham News, Knoxville News-Sentinel, Vero Beach (FL) News, and the Abeline Reporter, to name a few; along with numerous wrestling websites that run his weekly wrestling column.

So much for Layfield dismissing Marvez as merely a 13 year old with a keyboard his parents bought for him.

Along with that...it's not hard to interpret the picture that headed this column last week from Moonsault.de. The picture spoke for itself very well. The information sent by Marvez was accurate.

If he's looking for someone in the business who felt what he did was wrong, perhaps Layfield would like to answer the letter I received from a well-known wrestling referee who stated that he had a number of relatives killed in the Holocaust, and who was upset at what Layfield did in Germany. Layfield couldn't dismiss those feelings by claiming the opinions were "just those of a mark"...they aren't.

If THAT isn't enough, Lance Storm got in his say on the matter this past Friday: "...Unfortunately for John, he did it around the anniversary of D-Day and in a company much more in the public eye, and because of that it was a big mistake...I'm a firm believer in freedom of expression and freedom of speech so I certainly have no ill will towards John for doing what he did, but will admit it was probably not a smart thing for him to do, considering the timing and the microscope people like to put WWE and wrestling under."

It seems sad that WWE is using this incident to get heat on Layfield...and then conveniently leaves out the most important part of the story...just what it is that Layfield did to get fired from CNBC in the first place. One would think that if WWE feels it's not wrong...why not tell people what this is all about, and show the actual incident on TV?

Because in their heart of hearts...they probably know better, not to mention UPN would never allow what really happened to make air.

No matter how hard they try, the "John 'Bradshaw' Layfield" character isn't working as a main event heel. So it seems WWE is going to try to use anything to get heel heat on him to hype the upcoming Great American Bash PPV and Layfield's match with Eddie Guerrero, which is being run just two weeks after their last RAW brand PPV. Many feel that this Bash has a lineup that doesn't even make for a good Smackdown.

They at least have a reason, however misguided, for doing so. But Layfield is defending the indefensible, publicly and often...and apparently doing so out of character, as well as in character.

Until next time...

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If you have comments/questions, or if you'd like to add the AS I SEE IT column to your website, I can be reached by e-mail at bobmagee1@hotmail.com)