WWE, Linda McMahon and why she cannot be the new head of the Small Business Administration
I’m a pro-wrestling fan. Mostly WWE due to access, but I try to keep abreast of what is happening in promotions like Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling as well and I just started following my local indie fed Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment late last year. I unabashedly love Finn Bálor, Bayley and Sami Zayn, have been published by Paste Magazine with my thoughts on WWE, and I’m even going to Wrestlemania in Orlando this year to mark my two year anniversary as a wrestling fan.
So when WWE co-founder Linda McMahon was appointed by President Donald Trump to be the new head of the Small Business Administration, naturally I was asked what my opinion was on the matter.
Well, without my usual use of four letter words to pepper it, my opinion is such: Linda McMahon is an awful choice due to her own history with how WWE is run.
Let’s review, shall we?
- Linda McMahon donated six million dollars to a Super PAC supporting Trump. This is on top of the five million “donated” to the Trump Foundation by her and WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon between 2007 and 2009. While Linda has not actively been involved with the company since 2009 when she began her first unsuccessful Senate campaign, she still has some equity within the company (the McMahon family holds 90.4% interest). There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it, Linda McMahon bought her way into the SBA position with money earned from WWE.
- WWE classifies the wrestlers we see on TV every week as independent contractors, despite the grueling travel schedule that sees them on the road anywhere between 250 to 300 days a year and the amount of high risk that is involved in the position. While WWE has tightened up their medical care and wellness policy in the past decade, it still leaves the wrestlers without company based health insurance, social security, or unemployment. McMahon has tried to justify this in the past, speaking on the royalties, merchandising, and contract deals that are unlike any other sport that will also classify their athletes as independent contractors. However, unlike those other sports, WWE doesn’t have an off-season nor a union for its wrestlers. This also doesn’t include the multiple lawsuits brought on by former employees, including a recent concussion lawsuit, the fact former WWE wrestlers like Perry Saturn have had to take to GoFundMe to take care of medical expenses, or that current Raw General Manager Mick Foley has admitted that he is on a “handshake deal” with the company and currently doesn’t have health insurance to cover hip replacement surgery. It’s a gross misclassification, especially for a publically traded company that brings in millions of dollars every year.
- Out of the company’s ten highest paid wrestlers in 2015, only one was not white and none of them were women. Adding into the fact that non-white and women superstars only receive a fraction of marketing and merchandising that white men receive, despite WWE constantly bragging about how far they’ve come with women’s wrestling in the past few years. For example, current Smackdown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss did not have a shirt available for purchase until two weeks after her championship win. She does now, but that leaves it down to one champion within the WWE that doesn’t: Rich Swann, the current WWE Cruiserweight Champion and one of two current black champions within the company (the other being Smackdown Tag Champion Jason Jordan). Behind the scenes, no women writers are currently employed. Despite small advances that have been made within the past couple of years, it’s obvious that WWE still has some ways to go in regards to race and gender but no way to address it as of yet.
The facts are clear: Linda McMahon has done and will likely do nothing to address issues within small business of misclassification, employee rights, and gender/race pay gaps. To place her in this position, especially when she still has equity within WWE, is dangerous. She bought her way into the position after her aspirations of politics failed and she is unqualified to address the growing concerns of small business in America.
Tell your Senators NO on Linda McMahon for SBA. Call your senators, especially if they are within the Senate Small Business Committee. A vote is expected within the week.
You can watch the hearing below.