WWE fires superstar Alberto del Rio for reportedly slapping employee who allegedly told a racist joke


WWE CEO Vince McMahon. (Jessica Hill/AP)

The WWE has fired wrestler Alberto del Rio. The pro wrestling company made the announcement on its Web site Thursday using just one short sentence that noted the release was due to “unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee.”

While Del Rio and the WWE have kept quiet about the specifics of the altercation, the prevailing theory, as propagated by Wrestling Observer, is that Del Rio slapped a Web producer backstage after the producer allegedly made a racist joke about him. Del Rio is a third-generation Mexican wrestler. Wrestling Observer’s David Meltzer writes:

“Based on sketchy stories and what wrestlers have been talking about, at catering, somebody asked [Web producer] to clean off his plate. The person joked something along the lines of how that’s Del Rio’s job. Del Rio found out and confronted him. As the story goes, he didn’t apologize and then smiled at him, and Del Rio slapped him.”

WWE fans on Twitter immediately reacted, most landing squarely in favor of Del Rio despite the unconfirmed rumors.

In response to the outcry, the WWE basically ignored it, giving no further explanation of what happened and deciding instead to stick by its decision of letting Del Rio go by releasing two short sentences this time.

Whether the rumor is true or not, the WWE does have a point. Pro wrestlers are only required to look like they’re fighting, not actually fight — especially if it’s behind the scenes. At the same time, if the rumors are true and racism was involved in the altercation, WWE fans have made it clear that the slapping recipient should also be fired. While violence is not okay in the workplace, neither is racism.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Marissa Payne · August 8

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