Vice Sports has a fantastic piece up today breaking down the various issues with WWE using the Ultimate Warrior for a cancer awareness campaign despite the fact that he made so many controversial statements throughout his life, many of them publicized. That includes racism, bigotry, homophobia, and once saying Bobby Heenan’s throat cancer was karma and calling him a two-faced bag of shit.
Considering all this, it was always strange WWE immediately took to using Warrior to push positive messages of inspiration and courage in the face of adversity, like naming an award after him and now using his widow, Dana, as the face of the “Unleash Your Warrior,” campaign as part of its partnership with Susan G. Komen to combat breast cancer.
She gave a statement to Vice attempting to explain how he changed:
“I will not be disloyal to my husband’s memory or speak ill of a man who is not here to defend himself. I can, however, tell you his heart was changed by conversations with his two daughters. The true testament of the man behind the character is his ability to evolve. My husband did just that.”
WWE is none too happy anyone would be approaching what they’re doing with a negative slant, as they released a statement to Vice:
“WWE’s ‘Unleash Your Warrior’ breast cancer awareness campaign and annual ‘Warrior Award’ recognize individuals that exhibit the strength and courage of WWE’s legendary character The Ultimate Warrior. Any attempt to distract from the mission of these initiatives and take the spotlight away from the honorees is unfortunately misguided.”
It’s worth noting there is a distinction to be made between the characters played on television and the man himself but WWE isn’t doing much to make that distinction clear and Warrior himself legally changed his name to just that. Truth it truth and Vice really hits the mark with its story.
Make sure you go read it in full here.