The Buzz by Mike Schaffer - PR, Social Media, Pop Culture and Sports

Buzz, PR, Pop Culture, Wrestling

August 17, 2009

PR Buzz – Drugs, Sex andKurt Angle in the Spotlight

Tags: kurt angle, , PR advice, ,

Kurt Angle is a very accomplished man.  He has been an NCAA champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist and, at last count, a 13-time world heavyweight champion in professional wrestling (including his current title reign).  Now 40 years old, he has also started to transition to an acting career.  Overall, a terrific American story.

On the flip side, he’s gone through a public separation we discussed a few weeks ago here, been arrested under DUI charges, and, this past weekend, , including harrassment, hGH possesion and driving with a suspended license.

TNA Reigning Champ Kurt Angle - Arrested for Drugs, Harrassment, and More...

TNA Reigning Champ Kurt Angle - Arrested for Drugs, Harrassment, and More...

Not good.

As a professional wrestling outlet, where the outcomes are predetermined, TNA Wrestling had a choice at their Pay Per View show on Sunday, Hard Justice.  Angle was defending his championship in a three-way match, where he could have lost the title without getting pinned, allowing him to “disappear” for a few weeks while the situation sorted itself out one way or the other.  He would then have a legitimate rivalry set up for his return, rightfullu claiming that he never was pinned for the title.

In a PR situation, and, lets be frank, that’s exactly what this ends up being at the end of the day, TNA allowed someone who was arrested for drug and harrassment allegations to remain the face of their company.

Much like the recent discussions of Michael Vick, is this another case of an athlete living nine lives while the rest of us having just one?

My take is that this was a bad PR move by TNA.  They will tape 3 weeks worth of national television programming this week.  In that span of time, more information will come out about this case, and TNA faces the real possibility of incriminating evidence being brought to light as Angle continues to defend his title.  This is magnnified by the fact that they had a ready-made excuse to take him out of the spotlight for as long as needed.

What do you think?  Will this come to bite TNA in the rear end very quickly?  Or were they justified in supporting their top star until the due process played out?

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