AS I SEE IT
MARIETTA--- A former pro wrestler, despondent over the loss of his job, committed suicide in front of his girlfriend Tuesday morning, police said.
Richard C. Wilson, also known as "Renegade" with World Championship Wrestling in Atlanta, died of a gunshot wound to the head in his home on Amy Drive just off North Marietta Parkway, according to the report.
Wilson, 33, lost his job with the WCW about four months ago and was upset about that as well as his financial situation, Marietta police spokesman Lt. Rick Townsend said.
He was arguing with his girlfriend, who lived with him in the home, when he suddenly pulled out a .380 caliber pistol in the kitchen and shot himself, police said.
"Nothing was said that would lead her to believe he would kill himself," Townsend said.
WCW Public Relations Director Alan Sharpe said Wilson, who was originally from the Boston area, had worked for the company on and off for three years. "We are saddened and deeply shocked by the news," he said.
The first time I wrote this column in 1997, I said that it would look at the human side of the business. I've outlined the good and the bad elements of that human side...the times that the real-life people within the business have shown they care about their own, sometimes to extraordinary degrees.
I said it would also show the times other real-life people within the business have shown how little they care about their own.
Thursday night presented another example of the latter.
I turned on WCW's Thunder. I saw two hours of television with angles and storylines being pushed, matches going on, and commercial products being shilled. But in 120 minutes...there was not one TV graphic, not one word for Rick Wilson. Nothing. It was as if he had never existed within Ted Turner's corporate empire.
It's certainly true that every form of business treats employees like commodities...witness the phrase "human resources" in business.
But at a time where the dark side of wrestling is being exposed more and more as the business becomes more and more mainstream (including WCW itself that very evening on Inside Edition); it would have been a politically smart thing for WCW to show a degree of decency, if not compassion for Rick Wilson and his family. It also would have been the right thing to do.
But yet again, WCW has missed an opportunity to do the right thing for one of its own. Rick Wilson wasn't a "superstar"...someone being bid on by Titan Sports or Time-Warner-Turner...being offered six-figure contracts. Rick Wilson wasn't a name that would make you want to attend a show. But he was one of WCW's own.
Sadly, such ignorance by WCW makes the Phil Mushnick's of the world more credible when they spout their ideological garbage. It makes someone who isn't a fan of wrestling wonder what kind of business would just turn the page...and ignore the death of one of their own.
It also makes this fan wonder what kind of company WCW is when they can.
Until next time....
If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org