First openly gay WWE wrestler benefits personally and professionally
By Justin LaBar
Published: Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, 11:57 p.m.
Darren Young became the first openly gay WWE professional wrestler, and now he has a job for life.
I'm happy for Young. Everyone should be happy and live their lives the way they want to. When someone in the public eye comes out as gay, it helps continue the dialogue about human rights.
In Young's case, it also happens to be a good career move. He spoke to TMZ last week in the Los Angeles airport and revealed his sexual orientation. Young's name has never been typed nor spoken so much by the media or fans.
WWE can't fire him now. It would be a public relations nightmare. Do I think Young came out solely for publicity and money? No. Do I think Young knew that coming out could benefit his career? Yes.
It was a terrific PR move by Young, who I have no doubt tipped off TMZ that he wanted to speak to them. Why else would they have pulled him, out of all wrestlers arriving, aside and asked him, of all questions, about gay athletes? I would bet he has a friend at TMZ and orchestrated the whole thing. Good for him. It was a smart way to get that weight off his chest. And now it's going to add a whole lot of weight to his wallet.
I fully expect WWE to capitalize on the all the attention and momentum Young has right now by utilizing him more on television. The question is, how do they do it and what is appropriate?
Young is one-half of the Prime Time Players with Titus O'Neil. I don't know if he still can or should be. Prior to his announcement, Young's Twitter account said life is all about three things: money, cars and women. Obviously, he was playing his character and still hiding his true lifestyle, but he can't do that anymore.
I know it's a show, but fans can suspend disbelief only so much. Young remaining with that PTP is especially tough because WWE's genre of entertainment loves to blur the lines of reality and show. They have cameras following their stars for reality shows. Their stars participate in media appearances where they go in and out of character.
Young has to be a babyface on WWE television, and he should be defending his right to live the way he wants. Let him stand up for his beliefs and lifestyle. WWE walked the content guideline earlier this year with the charatcer of Zeb Colter and his political act. He would verbally assault Alberto Del Rio and the illegals “sneaking across our boarders,” as he would say night after night.
Del Rio's a heel now, so Colter and his militia on screen could use a new babyface to feud with. Perhaps Young is the perfect answer. He can defend his and the rights of the entire WWE universe to live anyway you want.
It would be a relevant issue to put on screen for entertainment purposes but also ties into WWE's Be A Star anti-bullying campaign where they talk about showing tolerance and respect.
PTP can stay together with Young and O'Neil since Colter has both Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger associated with him. PTP's characters should be adjusted. The characters no longer would be focused on women and cars but about appreciating yourself and others. O'Neil stands by his friend, not caring if he they have different lives outside of the ring. It's a babyface story fans can get behind.
In the end, Young got to come clean with who he is and secured a job for as long as he wants it. He's in a position to make a difference to others who are in similar situations. WWE gets free media attention and a fresh new story with months of television.
If I were Young, I would have called TMZ a little closer to that WrestleMania media blitz and payday.
Trib Total Media staffer Justin LaBar has a wrestling column every Monday and Friday. He also hosts Wrestling Reality at sportstalk.triblive.com every Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates talk to Mets about trading for first baseman Davis
- Penguins’ youngsters Samuelsson, Despres show lots of promise
- Fire destroys Indiana Township home
- Steelers face decision on Woodley’s future
- Additional fees, some specific to Pa., lead to bloated cellphone bills
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin doesn’t regret picking Bell instead of Lacy
- Kovacevic: Pitt’s soft-to-tough transition fails
- Steelers’ Brown maturing into elite wide receiver
- Heyl: When Western Pennsylvania becomes a separate state
- Pope Francis gives Wuerl key position in Vatican
- Western Pennsylvania hospitals lag state improvement