AS I SEE IT - 6/18/2002:
A Week... from the Improbable to the Unthinkable
by: Bob Magee
In what most readers saw as a shocking turn of events within the last week...
Steve Austin abruptly left World Wrestling Entertainment over a disagreement concerning the creative direction of his character, rumored to involve working with and doing a job to Brock Lesnar.
Many, included yours truly, suspected an elaborate Vince Russo-style angle...even with Saturday night's WWE Confidential show with Jim Ross and Vince McMahon doing interviews concerning the situation that appeared to make clear that the situation was a legitimate one and that Austin's career with WWE might well be over.
If only all our suspicions had been true, and if only that had been all there was to it.
Instead, less than a week after walking out on WWE, Steve Williams is a suspect in a domestic violence incident involving his wife, Debra.
The story begins here. On Saturday afternoon, Karen Merritt (a former PWBTS reporter and columnist who lives in San Antonio) sent me the following information:
"..Got some hot news for you. Lead story on KENS TV the NBC station here in San Antonio. Debra called police at 4:00 am this morning (Saturday) to report Steve had beat her. It (the beating) left a welt under her left eye and bruises on her back. She said she was reluctant to call police because of who Steve was. And she couldn't believe he had hit her.
She said the abuse had happened before.
When police got to the home on the far north side of San Antonio, Steve had already left the residence. He could not be reached by the news media for comment."
I was at the Major League Wrestling show at the ECW Arena Saturday afternoon, and did not see the e-mail until Sunday morning.
Obviously I checked a story such as this before posting it, given the severity of the issue in question. The station in question, as well as the station cited by Dave Meltzer
(KMOL TV 4 in San Antonio) had no information on the item on Sunday morning.
Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer had posted, then removed a story on the situation...leading to speculation the story was somehow not legitimate.
Since no news was posted on the KMOL or KENS websites, I assumed someone had been worked, whether the San Antonio media outlets in question or Dave Meltzer or both.
It wouldn't have been the first time a wrestling websites been worked or scammed. Leaving out the obvious intentional leaks of information by the WWF (as well as ECW and WCW in the past)....usually such things are simple and childish, like fake spoilers sent from people supposedly at Smackdown tapings. Other times, they are sick, such as the ever present death rumors sent to major websites, including PWBTS and likely many of the sites on which you read this column.
However... I found out later Sunday, that this was no such work or scam. Instead it was a tragic happening between two very public figures.
On about noon on Sunday the story was confirmed, with Dave Meltzer reporting that the San Antonio Police have confirmed that a police report was filed listing only "suspect" and "victim". It does not list names but according to
Meltzer, the address is apparently the right address for the Williams household.
Because the alleged perpetrator (Steve Williams) is said to be at large, San Antonio Police will not officially confirm the names of those involved in the alleged incident.
Other sites, such as the Pro Wrestling Torch and 1wrestling have also confirmed with staff of San Antonio's KMOL TV that the story did run on the
station's 10 O'Clock News.
KMOL finally put this story up on their website Monday morning:
"...News 4 broke this story this weekend, professional wrestler, Steve Williams allegedly hit his wife Debora in the face and back at their San Antonio home on the far Northwest Side. Mrs. Williams told police this isn't the first time it has happened and that she was scared to call the police.
Sunday, World Wrestling Entertainment had a response. They told News 4 that this isn't the first bizarre behavior by Stone Cold. They say it started last week when he walked out of an event...."
Later Monday, Reuters and other national media sources published the story online, and the investigative website The SmokingGun.com published the complaint report from the San Antonio Police Department.
Other mainstream news sources picked it up later in the evening.
Those who wish to read it in full and without editorial interpretation can do so at this URL.
I have strong feelings about domestic abuse.
I've had to deal personally with cases of friends physically abused by those with whom they have had relationships. I've had to deal professionally as a school counselor with a number of abuse cases, including two incidents where physical confrontations actually occurred at the school I was working in.
Back when I was in college, I even became involved in a situation where physical intervention became necessary to save a young woman from abusive family members. Along with a friend, I had to help sneak the abuse victim out of a hospital, where she was being forced to visit one of the abusing family member, down the street to a women's shelter.
With all these experiences, I feel that there is never an appropriate time for a man to physically attack a significant other with whom he is in a relationship.
That being said, human relationships are far more complex than simple black and white. As of this moment, we don't know what actually happened in the situation that occurred last Friday night between Debra Marshall and Steve Williams. We don't know if this was part of a fight between the
two... or whether he attacked her.
While there has been a statement by Debra Marshall-Williams that it isn't the only time such an incident has happened, we know nothing more than that. We also know that she has chosen not to file charges as of this writing.
As I write this article, we don't even know where Steve Williams is.
Forget "Steve Cold Steve Austin" right now. Forget angles, TV ratings, and even professional wrestling. This is a serious situation regarding a man's psyche and life itself.
I think it's safe to say that everyone reading this hopes Steve Williams turns himself in to police.
He is going to need to confront the situation created Friday night...whatever it is. No charges have been filed by Debra Marshall-Williams, but it's clear that San Antonio Police want to talk to him.
He and Debra are going to need counseling...before whatever, if anything, is going to happen next within their own relationship.
Perhaps someday, somewhere, we'll again see the beer-drinking, middle finger pointing, profanity-spewing rebel character that many of us have grown to know and love.
But I doubt it.
If there was any chance before, Vince McMahon isn't going to touch Steve Austin with a ten-foot pole now. Certainly not anytime soon. But Vince McMahon isn't going to let anyone else touch him, either. Because you can be sure someone else WOULD touch him if he were available... damned the consequences.
But wrestling notwithstanding, it's a damned sight more important that Steve Williams confronts whatever demons he's dealing with that have pushed him to this point in his life.
I hope to God he does.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)