WWE chairman Vince McMahon sent a personal letter to 535 former WWE wrestlers offering to pay for rehab or drug rehabilitation services. McMahon said in the letter he wants to prevent more deaths in the wrestling business.
“Over the last ten years, an inordinate number of wrestlers have passed away. Some of those deaths may, in part, have been caused by drugs and alcohol,” McMahon said in the opening paragraph of his letter to former talent.
“In an effort to help prevent such tragedies in the future, the WWE is offering to pay for drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation at a certified treatment center chosen by the WWE for any performer with a prior WWE booking contract who may need this service.”
McMahon said in the letter that WWE will pay for all related services regardless of how long a person was with the company or whether the wrestler left the company on good terms.
“WWE will pay for this service in full; there is no cost to you or your family,” McMahon said. “Help will be provided regardless of the circumstances of your departure from the WWE or the amount of time you performed for WWE.”
WWE published McMahon’s letter on its corporate website and designated office staff member Ann Russo-Gordon as the liaison between WWE and wrestlers who take the offer.
WWE offered rehab to former WWE wrestlers at WWE’s expense in September 2007, but WWE says only 3.1 percent of wrestlers followed up to accept the offer.
Andrew “Test” Martin completed WWE’s rehab program last year and he was scheduled for a check-in with WWE’s office staff last Friday when he was found dead in his Tampa, Fla. apartment.
Vince McMahon did not address Martin’s recent death in his letter, but the letter appears to be a response to Martin’s death being the latest in a string of wrestler deaths over the past ten years.
“Please reach out to Ann if you think you might have a drug and/or alcohol problem, or if you know someone who does,” McMahon said in closing. “We all need to do everything we can to help prevent another tragedy.”
*****from James Caldwell at pwtorch.com*****