By Zack Zimmerman
So far, so good for Ring of Honor. 24 hours ago they were on the verge of a potential P.R. nightmare due to another anti-gay sentiment expressed (using dangerous gun rhetoric) by their World Champion, Jay Briscoe. 24 hours later, from a public relations standpoint, I'm confident saying that Ring of Honor has handled things in the best way possible. They're not out of the woods yet, as I'll explain, but they should be commended on their decisions thus far.
I've read the outcries calling for the termination of Jay Briscoe, but let's not get carried away. Jay Briscoe's sentiment was thoughtlessly, offensively, and senselessly worded, then thrown into the world via social media. To make it worse, Jay has a history of expressing similar sentiment, in even less appropriate ways. Realistically and unfortunately, it wasn't the worst thing that's been said by a wrestler in that position.
We've seen similar instances from World Champions in both WWE and TNA in recent years. The follow up P.R. to both featured barely-passible corporate spew with a generally insincere 140-character apology from the offender thrown in. Ring of Honor has taken it a step further in the right direction, clearly differentiating their response from the "big two."
As restitution for the incident, ROH will be donating all of Jay's pay from the next two ROH events to Partnersagainsthate.org. It's not likely going to be a huge dent in the wallet of Jay Briscoe and it's not likely going to change his sentiment or opinions, but it's the socially responsible thing for the company to do. It shows the proper intentions and a complete acceptance of liability while actively, publicly, and monetarily benefitting the progression of this social issue in our society.
Ring of Honor has also announced that Jay will publicly apologize in the ring at Saturday's show. Now it's on him to step up and show the same level of responsibility that his company has. After his high-profile faux pas, Jay issued this apology before deactivating his Twitter account:
“I feel very strongly about how and who should teach kids about certain things but I showed poor judgment by using that analogy and I’m sorry.”
As I stated, I don't think this will change Jay's views on anything, especially considering the offensive viewpoints he's expressed in the past. Admittedly, under the Constitution, he doesn't need to apologize for his personal opinions regardless of how controversial. What he needs to apologize for is for showing a social unawareness that has propagated a history of bigotry (and now implied gun-violence), in a forum where thousands of people are exposed to his words.
Words which are no longer just words in 2013. They are words that have been used to demean, alienate, and infringe upon the liberties and rights of millions of Americans throughout history and today. If there's one thing I wish Jay would learn from these incidents, it's that fact. He surely could've used a more logical exaggeration than "I'll f-----g shoot you" as well.
But so far, so good for Ring of Honor. They have done everything in their power to contain a frenzy which resulted from a lapse in judgement by an independent contractor who inherently represents their company. The company continues to express their apologies on behalf of themselves and Jay Briscoe.
The most important thing now is for Jay Briscoe to apologize humbly, sincerely, and with the right intention behind his apology. Not "if I offended anyone," but because he showed (and has a history of showing) supreme lack of judgement and responsibility. If Jay follows up in the proper manner, this unfortunate incident may result in an unexpected gold star for ROH management. They may escape this smelling like roses.
Throw any comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections to @InVasionZim; always happy to discuss.
Zim's Blog: So far, so good for the way ROH management has handled the Jay Briscoe situation
May 10, 2013 - 11:38 AM
May 10, 2013 - 11:38 AM
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