The apparent suicide of former wrestler Chris Kanyon raises many questions. Firstly, Kanyon was one of the guys who had a college degree and at one time was a skilled, physical therapist. However, his love of wrestling, perhaps obsession is a better or more accurate term, was something that Chris could never fully step away from even after he 'retired.' Soon after or around the time Kanyon retired/left the biz he 'came out' and told that world that he was gay. Leaving one's dream profession and then providing such significant, personal news is a ton of material for one to process. Obviously, Chris was unfortunately not successful in that mission. Point I'm making is that our society isn't long on preparing many of their 'people' for the next phase of their lives specifically after the stadium lights, ring lights, etc dim on one's career. More needs to be done and should be done whether it be in the NFL, the NBA, or pro wrestling. Granted, that it takes two to tango but better programs should be in place to help people transition from the world of show biz, pro sports, etc to the 'real world.'
Many of the most famous wrestlers from a multitude of decades are still battling today to stay relevant because they either need the money or they just can't walk away from the biz and 'smell of the popcorn.' Some times I see things on TV featuring wrestlers my age or older and it saddens me. Same goes when I read of older guys who are still having to wrestle where ever they can get a booking to help put bread on the table after having successful, multi year careers in which many did no long term, financial planning. This is not a problem only of the wrestling establishment but the talents themselves have to be held equally accountable for not having the self discipline to prepare for the future which includes putting money away in a protected area and certainly paying one's taxes.
Yes, one can easily blame it on the 'independent contractor' issue but I'm not totally buying that one. Lots of independent contractors have created their own retirement plans and benefit packages and there are a litany of companies out there that specialize in such. Would it help if all these talents were employees? Sure, to a certain degree. Would being full time employees guarantee that all those 'employees' were protected? Nope. It all starts with education at a young age where knowledge and discipline are both instilled.
I look at so many pro athletes, many that I know, that had all the benefits and money one would seemingly need and they still fell upon hard times because they simply were not prepared or did not have the education and info for their life after the game ended.
You can read the entire blog entry from Ross, which includes much more on Gene Kiniski, wrestling as a PG rated television product, Ross' BBQ business and much more. You can check it all out and get some great BBQ product by visiting www.jrsbarbq.com.