By Chris Shore
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 4:10 p.m. CT
Jack Swagger arrested for DUI and pot. I couldn't believe the headline when I saw it on TMZ. Once belief set in, the horror of his actions began to unfold on so many different levels that I was paralyzed by all the realizations. In fact Jason Powell beat me to the punch at posting in part because as I typed, yet another angle to this story would suddenly crystallize and I would have to start over again. I have come to the conclusion, barring something exceptionally heinous, Jack Swagger could not possibly have picked a worse time, or crime, to commit.
Let's start with the easy one, timing. The arrest happened just two days after winning the Elimination Chamber and shocking a number of people. Nobody was talking about the possibility of Jack Swagger in a WrestleMania title match just three weeks ago. If he had done this weeks ago, perhaps he could have shown enough contrition to keep things on track. If he did it a couple of weeks from now, it would have been too late for WWE to make major changes without seriously upsetting the flow of the story.
But by doing it now, Swagger has left WWE with plenty of time to change directions, should they chose too. Mark Henry is still pissed off after the Chamber, have him take Swagger's title shot somehow. Alberto Del Rio vs. Mark Henry would be a fine, and once expected, match at Mania. I am not suggesting WWE should do this, simply that they have a logical storyline they could use, and enough time to pull it off.
As bad as the timing is, it is the DUI and marijuana charge that seems the bigger deal to me. I am not casting aspersions on Swagger, and I realize that WWE has a number of guys on the roster who have had DUIs and been busted in some way for pot. The problem I see here I that his character is one of moral superiority, and while DUIs are common and the stigma of marijuana decreases every year, they still are looked upon by and large as immoral behavior.
WWE has some history with this, most recently Serena Deeb being released because she wanted to party it up too much while playing a straight edge character on-screen. Swagger's character isn't straight edge, of course, but he is railing against illegal immigration. I run in conservative circles, and let me assure you that "illegal immigrant" is virtually synonymous with "drugs and alcohol" with far too many of them. For Swagger to commit the very same crimes that are associated with the group he is railing against might create the same contradiction that lead to Deeb's release, especially in light of the recent bad press his character has garnered in the conservative press.
Perhaps the one thought that so upset me was that of Dutch Mantel. Mantel's granddaughter, Amelia, was killed last year in a car accident. The man who hit her was not drunk (I don't think), but was running from the law in a high speed chase. While Swagger did not try and evade the police, he was still acting recklessly on the roadways in some capacity. You have to wonder how close to home that hits for Swagger's new mouthpiece.
In spite of all of this, I am not necessarily predicting gloom and doom for Swagger. The details are very, very sketchy right now. Perhaps he was pulled with some pot and paraphernalia and that's an automatic DUI charge in Mississippi, meaning alcohol wasn't involved at all. WWE would certainly see that as a far lesser offense than if he was drunk and high at the same time.
Of course Swagger also recently spent time in the dog house for reportedly falling asleep in a production meeting, and that goes to the heart of my point. Should WWE decide to end Swagger's push over this, they have plenty of reason with which they could. And while it's never a good time to get arrested, Swagger should have been working extra hard to keep his nose clean going into the biggest opportunity of his career.
Questions? Comments? Anyone, anyone? Let me hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @TheShoreSlant with whatever is on your mind.
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Shore's Blog: Could Jack Swagger possibly have picked a worse time, or crime?
Feb 20, 2013 - 04:10 PM
Feb 20, 2013 - 04:10 PM
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