Columns, TV

Top-Down Smackdown: Dump Trump From the HOF?

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I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but there’s a petition going around to have Donald Trump removed from the WWE Hall of Fame. The logic of it is that if Hulk Hogan can be kicked out for racist remarks, Trump can and should be to for talking about databases of Muslims and other inflammatory statements.

I’m not here to debate the politics of what Trump has said, and whether he is or isn’t racist (I do believe that what Hulk Hogan said unequivocally was). I’m here to ask if people remember why there is a “celebrity wing” in the Hall of Fame in the first place.

Yes, it was a publicity stunt. Do you remember the circumstances? It was Vince McMahon inducting Pete Rose, after he got kicked out of the baseball hall of fame for gambling. Before trending topics and hashtags, it was called hijacking the news cycle, and that was the whole point. Now, admittedly Vince could hijack the news cycle again by kicking his friend Trump out, but I don’t know that he should. I mean, are we going to put a morality test on being a Hall of Famer now?

Because if that’s the case, you’re going to have to kick out Scott Hall for actually killing a man, or Superfly Snuka if his verdict comes in the wrong way. If saying politically incorrect things is the issue, the Iron Sheik has to go. Jake the Snake got high on crack on-camera in Beyond the Mat – is that PG behavior? Should we still keep Pete Rose? And what of all the Hall of Famers who’ve died young due to a combination of steroid-enlarged heart and abuse of opiates/stimulants?

The wrestling business does not necessarily draw well-balanced people to it, and if they do come, it promptly provides all the stresses that would break a normal human being. Constant pain, constant travel, constant temptation and broken families are the norm. Faced with all that, can any of us honestly say we’d never utter an offensive word, or do an offensive thing?

Trump doesn’t have the schedule of a wrestler, of course. But even if we’re holding him to the standards of celebrity inductees, we have to come back to Pete Rose. Humans are flawed, and star athletes are in positions where their flaws can get amplified. Honoring their entertainment contributions need not mean you endorse every single thing they say, or have done in their capacity as a private citizen while not in character. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to vote for them, any more than you were required to back Jesse Ventura or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I don’t think Trump needs the boot. I think Hulk needs an apology.

Also: I liked the TLC pay-per-view. I didn’t get to see Raw. But by all means, talk back about it below.