It came out today that Chris Benoit had Xanax, a painkiller, and (gasp) steroids in his system at the time of his death. There were also drugs in his dead son’s system as well. Recently there have been the stories about how so many professional wrestlers died really young and how prevalent drug use and painkiller abuse is among them. It’s a dangerous profession, we all got a glimpse behind the scenes of how scary that life really is.
We’ve been refraining from writing a lot about this Chris Benoit thing because it’s such a sad, awful story that there really isn’t anything to say about the story. It sucks. That’s about it. By now you’ve probably figured out that things have changed. Many news organizations and others have latched on to the steroids angle and aren’t letting it go. Have we become so paranoid about steroids in sports (or professional wrestling, for that matter) that we blame it for every bad thing that happens?
If anything is clear, it’s that Chris Benoit killed his wife and son because he was an unstable individual and was under the influence of drugs. To say steroids was responsible or part of the cause is irresponsible at the very best. At it’s worst, it is taking a tragic situation and making it a simple footnote in the ongoing steroids controversy. The man killed his family; that he may have been on illegal drugs to help his athletic career is not the cause, but rather a symptom.
There are a ton of problems with professional wrestling and by now, we all know about them. Drugs, steroids, Vince McMahon, the toll it takes on their bodies, other generally shady individuals. It goes on and on. It’s a nasty business and it has been for a hell of a long time. But we need to get over this steroids hysteria. It does go to show exactly what effect a bunch of cheating baseball and football players has on our collective psyche. Suddenly, steroids are everywhere, and the mere mention of them causes all other details to be swept to the side.
In another situation, freaking out about another example of steroid use would be appropriate. But Chris Benoit killed his family and killed himself. That type of situation isn’t steroids-related, no matter how many times people can say “‘roid rage.” Hopefully, the people covering this story figure it out and stop taking the cheap angle. Wrestlers have been on steroids for years, it’s no shock. Also, no one truly believed that they weren’t, so it’s not like a great American hero has been exposed. I’d much rather go after every baseball player that cheated than find out about more professional wrestlers. It’s simply a tragedy, and tragedies deserve respect instead of being made into a hot headline for a lazy sports writer. Let’s all move on.