As Jim Ross recently said on his blog, WWE is reaching out to former talent and offering assistance to anyone with substance abuse problems. Wade Keller at PWTorch.com has published one of these letters, which the site obtained, and which was on WWE letterhead and hand-signed by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Here is the letter:
Over the last ten years, an inordinate number of wrestlers have passed away. Some of those deaths may in part have been caused by drugs and alcohol.
In an effort to prevent such tragedies in the future, the WWE is willing to pay for drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation at a certified treatment chosen by WWE for any performer with a prior WWE booking contract who may need this service. The WWE will pay for this service in full.
There is no cost to you or your family. Help will be provided regardless of the circumstances of your departure from the WWF or the amount of time you performed for the WWE.
If you do not have a drug and/or alcohol problem, but know you know a former WWE performer who does, we are asking you to try to help them by encouraging them to take advantage of this opportunity.
Liz Difabio has been appointed as a representative in this matter. Liz has been with the company for over 24 years and has been directly involved with the majority of WWE performers who have received treatment for substance abuse. She understands emotions that individuals and family members go through in this process. Any conversation you have with Liz will remain confidential and will not be released to the public.
In many instances, an individual in need of help is in denial and will not want rehabilitation. There are professional intervention companies that will help persuade that person that they need treatment. Liz will be able to facilitate such interventions, should they be necessary. An intervention and treatment will be at the cost of WWE exclusively.
This service is being provided for performers with a prior WWE booking contract only. No family or friends. Please reach out to Liz if you think you might have a drug or alcohol problem or if you know someone who does. We all need to do anything we can to help prevent another tragedy.
Vincent K. McMahon
Chairman, World Wrestling Entertainment
In an article in Newsday, it is revealed that WWE began sending letters such as this to about 500 former WWE wrestlers a week ago. A statement from Jerry McDevitt is quoted in the paper, with the WWE attorney saying, “The decision to do so was made by Vince as a humanitarian gesture, period. It is not intended to be, nor is it … an acknowledgment of responsibility for the substance problems of anybody.” McDevitt also says that this “will do no more than help those who want to help themselves but lack the resources to pay for rehabilitation.” Chris Kanyon is quoted in the article saying that this is a positive step in the right direction for WWE.