Jim Cornette is a wrestling icon. He has appeared in WWE, WCW, plenty of independent companies and up until this week the NWA which is owned by Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan. Cornette is known for his mouth. As a commentator his job is to get wrestlers over or make the fans care about the talent in the ring. He is usually a heel or bad guy. His job is also to inflame the audience. Good heels get a lot of boos and sometimes things thrown at them.
Jim Cornette was hired by the NWA to be a color commentator. His job is to describe what he sees in the ring with flair. NWA puts out their product on You Tube. They film several episodes at once weeks before they are released on You Tube. The product the fans see is not live. It has been recorded and edited ahead of time so the NWA can distribute and air exactly what they want. This is much different than WWE’s Monday Night Raw which is live.
Jim Cornette was giving color commentary on a match between Nick Aldis and Trevor Murdoch. During the match Jim said, “[Trevor Murdoch] is the only man I’ve ever known that can strap a bucket of fried chicken on his back and ride a motor scooter across Ethiopia. Trevor Murdoch can take care of himself!” Shortly after the show aired people complained it was racist. NWA announced Jim resigned and said, “Jim made remarks during a singles match between Nick Aldis and Trevor Murdoch that were both offensive and do not meet the high standards of decency and good faith of the National Wrestling Alliance”.
No, no, no, no!!!! There is so much wrong here. First the statement is not racist. The stereo-type is African Americans love fried chicken (we all love fried chicken so it is so dumb). Ethiopians are African not African Americans. The commentary was not racist but it was dated. Back in the nineties Ethiopia was suffering through a horrible famine which lead to starvation. We were bombarded with commercials showing us how sad it was. Sally Struthers was constantly on tv asking for us to send some money to help. Comedians made jokes about it because if it is horrible we will find the humor. So Cornette’s comment was not racist. It was dated. Maybe it was insensitive. The people watching wrestling on You Tube are young men. Chances are they don’t even know about the famine in the nineties. They got triggered by chicken and black people and let their fingers do the talking.
NWA does not believe the horse-shit statement they put out about Jim’s commentary. They had the footage before it aired. If they had a problem with it they never would have allowed it to air. They would have edited it out and had Jim re-do his commentary. We never would have seen it and at worst Jim would have gotten an earful and told not to do that as somebody could be offended. That is not what they did though. They thought Jim’s commentary was fine and only after they got complaints did Jim have to resign. They are passing the buck and making Cornette take the fall.
Could someone have been offended by what Cornette said? Sure if they are sensitive to the plight of people starving a few decades ago. However, if the claim is racism then they are wrong and don’t know history and context. I have no problem with people complaining if they don’t like something. I have no problem with companies reacting to complaints. I do have a problem when people don’t know what they are complaining about and a company wants to pass the buck on responsibility.
Wrestling is fake and so is this outrage!
We’ll talk about it on Tuesday at 6:30 PM Est. with Pip and comedian Kevin Lee. Hope you join us!