Vince McMahon on the Today Show

Vince McMahon appeared on NBC’s Today Show this morning, and highlights of the interview with Meredith Viera (as well as video of the segment) are available at Today.MSNBC.MSN.com. In the interview, he comes across well, albeit somber and defensive of the media’s “‘roid rage” focus with regards to the Chris Benoit alleged double-murder/suicide case.

McMahon said that “Steroids may or may not have had anything to do with this … It’s all speculation until the toxicology reports come back.” Viera claimed that this was (as the online article, linked above, writes) “a retreat from a statement the World Wrestling Entertainment, based in Stamford, Conn., had put out earlier, in which the organization said ‘steroids were not and could not be related’ to the deaths.” The statement in question, however, says that “Steroids were not, and could not, be related to the cause of death (asphyxiation),” and McMahon clarified the statement by suggesting it was refering to rage, not Chris Benoit’s use of steroids in general. “This is not an act of rage … This is an act of deliberation,” said McMahon. “There were a number of prescription medications found in the house. Whether they contributed to this, who knows? Whether there was some other aspect for something to do with this behavior, hopefully we’ll find out in some way … There were other pressures in terms of his son and wife. I don’t know, We may never know. But hopefully, we can put this to bed as best we possibly can and determine what happened once we have the real evidence.”

When asked about deaths in wrestling, McMahon said that only five had died while under WWE contract, so those were the only ones he could speak about, and that three were heart-related, one suicide (Benoit) and one accident (Owen Hart). He talked about the company’s Wellness Program, put into place in February 2006 (the article on MSNBC’s Web site incorrectly states that the policy started this February), and that Benoit passed a steroid test this past April.

During the interview, McMahon reiterated an opinion that we’ve heard time and time again about this tragedy: Chris Benoit “was a mild-mannered individual” and “there was no way of telling this man was a monster.”

Towards the end of the interview, McMahon stated that “Everybody in this organization, to my knowledge, is well-adjusted family people … They go to work like everybody else. They’re performers. We put smiles on faces. That’s our job description, not to be tainted and smeared by this.”

The online MSNBC article has more details on the interview, and is fairly accurate (one additional inaccuracy is a claim that Benoit’s nickname was the “Canadian Strangler” rather than “Canadian Crippler”).

The AP also did a story on McMahon’s interview here.

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