- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Vince McMahon wallows in sleaze, slime and sludge as chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, which is about as subtle as a two-by-four being deployed against the cranium.

Yet McMahon’s base fare is a long way from the murder-suicide of Chris Benoit, his wife and son, as is the suggestion that he somehow has a responsibility to his juiced-up performers.

Let’s be adults here. We all know the deal with professional wrestling. It is make-believe mayhem that demands its practitioners to look like puffed-up characters out of a cartoon strip.

If you elect to find employment in this culture — because of the money, babes and lifestyle — you know the pact you are making.

You know you will be sacrificing your body in exchange for a quality of life that otherwise would be beyond your grasp.

What you do with the opportunity is up to you. It is not up to McMahon.

One ex-wrestler became the governor of a state.

Another used his crossover appeal to become an ubiquitous entity on the airwaves.

Benoit descended into madness and took out his wife and son before using a weight-machine pulley to hang himself in his home in Fayetteville, Ga.

Authorities are now trying to determine whether Benoit’s use of anabolic steroids played a role in the deaths.

That determination will be dubious at best; all kinds of athletes have been found to be chemically enhanced and did not end up in a murder-suicide scene.

It is impossible to know what demons were lurking in the dark crevices of Benoit’s warped mind as he went about his grisly deed.

McMahon’s WWE implemented drug testing following the death of Eddie Guerrero last year and claims Benoit passed a random test in April.

Of course, Benoit passing a test merely puts him in a club with a large membership.

How many times have we heard the chemically enhanced say they have never failed a drug test, which was the whole premise of BALCO?

Its stew could not be detected by the testing tools of the time.

Free will is an awfully hard concept to accept around those who commit heinous acts.

Somehow, someone other than the victimizer is partially responsible for the evil that lurks in the person’s heart.

“Today” host Meredith Viera indicted McMahon before posing a question to him last week, as earnest media types are prone to do.

“You make tons of money off these people,” she said. “What is your responsibility to them?”

Making tons of money apparently is only permissible if you are sitting in a television studio.

By Viera’s logic, perhaps McMahon should add surrogate father to his list of responsibilities.

Look, no one should want a son or daughter growing up to become one of McMahon’s stooges in his freak shows.

But people make those decisions every day.

And when they do, it is hard to be sympathetic to those who discover that McMahon is not necessarily a good guy or a fair business person or that the culture of wrestling is unseemly.

When busty Chyna attacks McMahon, you feel compelled to ask: Why did you elect to curl up with a snake when you knew it could bite?

There is something called personal accountability, quaint as that notion is today.

Something bad happens nowadays, and the inclination is to cast a net of blame.

Unless authorities can place McMahon in Benoit’s home at the time of the murder-suicide or show that he coerced Benoit into becoming a professional wrestler years ago, then it is all on Benoit.

He chose to be in the culture of professional wrestling and everything that goes with it.

And he chose to kill his wife and son, which is not as rare as it should be.

There is always another missing woman on the airwaves, and usually, the person of interest is the man who is or was in the woman’s life, and he is not a professional wrestler.