Over a year ago, I wrote about how two extremely different television programs, WWE and Glee, took on the problem of bullying. Approximately none of you cared, based on the utter lack of promotion and discussion that article got. (And coincidentally, that very same discussion continued on Glee last night, where the former bully Dave Karofsky was outed as gay at his new high school and attempted to hang himself.) In this article, I’m going to try and get serious again. Sorry, but there are no polls with pictures of 90% nude women in this post.
But I’m not here to write about the problem of bullying again. I’m here to discuss the issue of domestic violence. Perhaps heightened by Chris Brown’s recent Grammy performance, award win, Twitter outburst and the heightened attention that all brings, WWE wrestler CM Punk called out Chris Brown over Twitter. “I would like @chrisbrown fight somebody that can defend themselves,” Punk said. “Me curb stomping that turd would be a #wrestlemania moment.” Chris Brown replied with “@CMpunk needs more followers. He’s such a leader!” Brown continued, “Not to mention the roids hes on has made it utterly impossible for him pleasure a women.” And thus a (stupid) Twitter war was born.
Approximately three years ago, Chris Brown viciously assaulted his then-girlfriend, international pop star Rihanna. He eventually pleaded guilty to a felony charge for the assault in a plea deal. The performer’s sentence consisted of community service, five years’ formal probation and domestic violence counseling. Brown also apologized to Rihanna and his fans in a YouTube video that he has since removed. Many believe this plea deal did not include a harsh enough sentence for Brown. Since then, Brown and Rihanna have implied that they were still friends. Rumors swirled the internet recently that they were even hooking up again. And just this past Monday, Brown and Rihanna released a collaboration of two music tracks which has drawn criticism of both artists.
In response to the Twitter war with Chris Brown, CM Punk uploaded a video calling Brown out. As TMZ reports it:
WWE heavyweight champion CM Punk is lashing back at Chris Brown … claiming the singer isn’t just a liar … but a total “coward” who never truly “paid” for what he did to Rihanna.
Punk released a video statement moments ago … in response to Brown’s allegations that he’s a steroid-abuser with an inadequate penis.
In his video, Punk starts out by saying he’s ” a proud life long drug free straight edge individual” … and then spends the next minute BLASTING Brown.
“Chris and I come from different worlds. I don’t have an assistant. I don’t have a body guard. I don’t have a manager or a PR person telling me to delete tweets like Chris does, and I don’t hit women. Period.”
He adds, “[Chris] has made the wrong accusations to the wrong person because I can defend myself.”
Punk then challenges Brown to a no-holds barred fight for charity … and says, “I will choke you out and I will make you feel as weak and as powerless and scared and alone as any woman who has the misfortune of knowing a sad cowardly little boy such as yourself.”
You can watch CM Punk’s video here: http://www.twitvid.com/4CAPE
Wrestling fans have rallied around CM Punk’s cause, just as Chris Brown’s fans have rallied around defending him. And let’s be clear here – both sides have idiotic fans, including female fans of Brown Tweeting that Chris Brown can beat them any time he wants. Both sides have a right to defend their celebrities and both sides have a point with some of their comments. But perhaps CM Punk and wrestling fans should consider this: “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
One of the hottest “dream matches” in wrestling fans minds is CM Punk versus Stone Cold Steve Austin. Dedicated fans have made quality hype videos for this dream feud on YouTube. Video game developer THQ and WWE went as far as to include it as a scenario in their recent game WWE All Stars. The story writes itself with the straight edge CM Punk taking on the beer swilling redneck Steve Austin. But given CM Punk’s recent attention to domestic violence, the story is now deeper than that.
Back in 2002, Steve Austin was arrested for beating his then-wife, former WWE Diva Debra Marshall. Austin was charged and pleaded no contest to charges that netted him one year probation, a fine of $1,000, domestic violence counseling and 80 hours of community service. In 2004, there was another domestic dispute with Austin’s then-girlfriend Tess Broussard. She alleged he choked her and threw her to the ground. She stabbed him – with a steak knife. Broussard was arrested but also filed a police report against Austin. The incident with Broussard aside, Austin undoubtedly beat Debra. The severity of it may be different than the beating Chris Brown put Rihanna through, but they both beat their partners, and that is undisputed.
From what I can tell, Austin never publicly apologized for his actions. Not that he had to, since this was a private matter, but I can’t find any evidence of Steve Austin even publicly discussing the incident. WWE also did not comment on Austin’s domestic violence, but they are currently more than happy to point out Chris Brown’s past history. Furthermore, it’s not like Austin had a harsh sentence. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I know juveniles that got caught tagging that received the same sentence Austin did. A little spray paint the same as beating your wife? Sure, why not.
People can change, be forgiven and be given second chances. These things do take time too. Perhaps Steve Austin learned from his mistakes and changed as a human being. I have no further information on any of his relationships since 2004. I am in no way condoning what Chris Brown did to Rihanna. I do question whether Brown is truly sorry for what he did, and just as importantly, I question whether Brown has truly learned from his past actions and changed the kind of man he is. Some of his public actions and statements over the past three years seem to indicate he hasn’t learned from what he did, but that could also just be his immaturity on display. After all, he is only 22 years old. He should undoubtedly know better, but he is also in a time of growth in his life. He also comes from a home full of domestic violence and was perhaps caught in the domestic violence cycle. I’m certain the glitz and glamour of stardom has also affected his growth as a person, likely contributing to his continued immaturity. In March 2011, Brown stormed off the set of “Good Morning America” after co-anchor Robin Roberts asked him about his domestic abuse incident with Rihanna. He apparently damaged some furniture and a window. Paparazzi later caught him shirtless outside of “GMA’s” Times Square studio. He obviously still has anger issues he needs to work through. A rumor circulated the tabloids that after the Grammy’s, Brown used the pick up line “Can I get your number? I promise I won’t beat you!” at some party. If this is true, he obviously has a lot left to learn, whether he truly thinks that pick up line is funny or whether he used it nervously because he doesn’t know how to deal with the person he is or was. But to my knowledge, he hasn’t beat another woman since he beat Rihanna.
So if CM Punk is going to go on a rant about someone’s domestic violence history, why not look at the history of someone he at least idolizes as an in-ring performer? A couple pictures of a young CM Punk with Stone Cold exist on the internet. CM Punk wore a Stone Cold t-shirt when he delivered his infamous worked-shoot promo that kicked off WWE’s “Summer of Punk.” And the two have exchanged Twitter compliments and comments numerous times.
People are entitled to their opinion of Chris Brown and what he did. But maybe while we crucify Chris Brown again as we rally behind CM Punk, we should also look at our own wrestling idols. Should we continue to cheer Stone Cold Steve Austin? Should we continue to buy his DVDs and t-shirts? After all, he did essentially the same thing Chris Brown did and got away with a slap on the wrist.
If CM Punk is so willing to have a shoot fight with Chris Brown and donate the proceeds to a women’s shelter, and if WWE is so eager to promote what CM Punk is saying and doing, then maybe WWE should recognize that Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin also beat a woman. And maybe instead of Straight Edge Savior vs. Beer Swilling Redneck, WWE could script a WrestleMania match around Non-Woman Beater vs. Former Woman Beater. After all, what better way to raise attention for the serious issue of domestic violence than in front of an audience of millions worldwide? Vince McMahon could even donate a huge portion of the financial proceeds of that WrestleMania to organizations that help women who are victims of domestic violence, just so WWE doesn’t profit from promoting a storyline related to the actual domestic violence actions of one of its performers.
As a wrestling fan, it’s easy to get caught up in this Twitter war between Punk and Brown. It’s easy to take sides when you see some of the stupid things Chris Brown Tweets about Punk and wrestlers in general. It was pretty idiotic to call CM Punk a steroid user considering he might be one of the most well known “Straight Edge” practitioners in the world today. When you consider the fact that Brown still has anger issues and may not take his actions seriously if that pick up line rumor is true, it’s even easier to dislike him. I’ve certainly been swept up in it with some of my Tweets and re-Tweets. But when you sit back and think about it, it’s not worth our time to rehash the whole Chris Brown woman-beater thing, especially when we’re unwilling to hold our own heroes like Stone Cold Steve Austin accountable. Chris Brown’s fans are still entitled to support his music, just like millions of wrestling fans still support Austin’s movie and wrestling roles. And while we all are entitled to our own opinions of both Brown and Austin, a public bashing of either of them will do little good because it’s unlikely to change them deep down as people. Chris Brown may act like an immature a-hole at times and Stone Cold still pounds his beers, but neither of them are beating women. And really, as gratifying as it may be to watch CM Punk knee Chris Brown in the face is, it’s unlikely that a beat down will help Chris Brown learn from his past mistakes whether its the act of beating a woman or even using that act as a joke in a pick up line.
If CM Punk is so concerned about domestic violence, maybe he should use his position as WWE Champion to bring awareness to some domestic violence charities. Maybe he could team up with Mick Foley and support organizations that help abused women, like Foley does with his active role within RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. There is a lot of good CM Punk can do without having to beat up Chris Brown in a fight, and the attention deserves to be on helping victims of domestic violence rather than shining the spotlight on a pro-wrestler disliking an R&B and hip hop artist who may never fully appreciate the gravity of his actions. After all, isn’t that what being “the voice of the voiceless” is truly about?
To quote John Cena: “Rise Above Hate.” The WWE, CM Punk, and us fans can rise above the energy and effort, however minimal, of hating Chris Brown or even Steve Austin and direct that negative energy into something positive by raising awareness about the issue of domestic violence if it truly matter to us.
That’s all for me from now. Maybe next time I’ll get on my soapbox about The Rock’s constant homophobic name calling directed at John Cena or John Cena’s sexist comments toward Eve Torres. Until then, be sure to leave a comment and discuss this important issue of domestic violence.
This article’s author, Red River Jack, is an award winning snarky Twitter user who writes about serious business once a year and should be followed immediately @BeardofMikeKnox