Rob Van Dam on WWE Drug Testing and Marijuana Legalization

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Rob Van Dam on WWE Drug Testing and Marijuana Legalization

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:54 pm

National Ledger wrote:
Rob Van Dam on WWE Drug Testing and Marijuana Legalization

The National Ledger
By Anna Elizabeth Anderson
Jan 27, 2008

<table class=posttable align=right width=157><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/rob_van_dam.jpg></td></tr></table>Rob Van Dam was interviewed by Kevin Eck of The Baltimore Sun regarding World Wrestling Entertainment's drug testing program, and it is by far the most in depth and comprehensive look at the "wellness program" to date. On the subject of WWE's drug testing, RVD stated the following.

"From personal experience, being tested probably five or six times at least in the year, year-and-a-half that I was there and they were testing, it felt like it was very violating. For them to actually go inside my body and take my urine and then tell me if they're OK with what I'm taking, it's all very violating. At the same time, I do realize the goal behind it, hopefully, is to help people."

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He added, "And there are a lot of irresponsible wrestlers, there's no doubt about that. I'm responsible myself; I can take care of myself. I'm an independent contractor, which means that I show up to work, I do my job, and then I leave. I'll see you tomorrow – different place, same job. And that's what I do. It's a very onerous contract that they've amended several times since signing it. I signed the deal, then a little while later they said, "Oh, OK, by the way, now we're going to add a dress code." Then a little while later they said, "Oh, if you're late, you're going to get fined. Now we're going to add this drug testing." It'd be kind of like hiring a painter to paint your house and then every couple of days adding work for him and telling him it's under the same deal. "Hey, by the way, we decided you're going to paint my neighbor's house, too."

"It does help people because, as I said, there's some irresponsible guys there that don't know how to take care of themselves. I do think that the drug screening does help people like that. I look at it like security at the airport. We're not all going to blow up the airplanes, but because there's a few bad apples, we all have to bend over and get the anal probe and have all of our private property searched. That got completely monotonous, but it's a similar thing. Obviously, the wrestling lifestyle is very stressful and very taxing on the body. It's unreasonable not to understand how some of the wrestlers could benefit from medicine such as pain pills, or even something to wake them up and give them energy. Testosterone is actually a highly accepted medicine that helps them recuperate, helps them heal, helps give them the drive. Not to mention, the older we get, our own testosterone level drops."

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"To try to be a professional athlete and work out when you're not sleeping right, you're traveling day to day, not to mention the bumps and bruises in the ring and you're trying to eat right, it's a very, very challenging job. And the list on that drug test is so long. There are even things that other people can take over the counter like ephedrine that the wrestlers aren't allowed to take. I'm a strong believer in modern medicine. I think it has its use in society. I think it adds longevity to our life expectancy. Go back a couple hundred years, we used to live to be 30 years old before penicillin, so I'm very much into proper usage of medicine when it's appropriate. Abuse, that's something else. You shouldn't have abusers and people that are on deathwatch living day to day like everybody else trying to carry on the job."

"With Congress making their demands and looking into it, I don't really know exactly what to expect out of that. .. I think it's strange for them to mandate over something as vague and uncontrolled as pro wrestling, because it even changes from state to state whether it's a sport or entertainment. Pro wrestling is as inside, behind-closed-doors and as protective a business as is there is next to the mafia, so for them to oversee it from the outside and actually put control on it, it's strange to me. I think they've blurred the line between WWE and wrestling, too. They've blamed Vince for a lot of stuff that just has to do with wrestling in general. The truth is most wrestlers aren't working at the top with WWE."

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RVD's suggestion regarding how pro wrestling can clean up was most interesting as well. His solution: "I think it's education. I think it's about making smart decisions. And when we get into a business like this we look at our role models, we look at the older wrestlers and what they do. Back in '89, '90 when I got into wrestling, it was a party business. The wrestlers, for the most part, were drinking and doing drugs. I'd compare it more to a rock and roll tour than I would to a football organization. When it comes to the drug abuse they always want to compare it to other sports, but really it's like the Barnum & Bailey Circus. There's like 22 of those big tractor trailer trucks and they haul the show from town to town."

"It's not like MMA where someone's really trying to knock your head off, so you can relax a little bit and your comfort zone can get kind of wide. I think it's in education and I think it's in people representing the right image. Somebody like CM Punk, who stands up and says he's completely sober. He doesn't even take a drink of champagne in a toast because that's just not him. He's a man that's completely full of integrity; you've got to respect that. He's going to have a lot of wrestlers getting into the business that are going to look up to him and want to be like him. He's unique, but if there were more wrestlers that were not abusive, then eventually I think we'd see a change."

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On a subject that hits close to home for Van Dam, the legalization of marijuana, the former WWE and ECW Champion made the following statement: "I think anybody that looks into the truth, if they're not for legalizing it then they just don't care about it. But anybody that says that there's any logical reason that a plant that grows in the wild that zero people on the planet have overdosed from should be classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the [Drug Enforcement Administration] with heroin and acid, and is one of the deadliest drugs with no medical benefits whatsoever – people knows that's [nonsense]. I'm strongly for the legalization."

"I divide the argument into three categories: there's recreational, there's medicinal and there's even material. You can make over 25,000 products with hemp, which doesn't even have THC. It's just a plant that they have outlawed by assimilating it with marijuana. Henry Ford made a car out of hemp fiber and it ran on hempseed oil. Nobody knows about that because DuPont buried it and said, "We can make a lot more money off destroying the planet and making plastics." The more you look into it, the more you'll learn that it was completely [nonsense]. Marijuana was outlawed in 1937 for causing violence and promiscuity, and if you smoked enough you would go insane. They've never gone back and said, "Oh, by the way, everybody, that was [nonsense]." Material, medicinal and recreational – the fact is it rates higher in effectiveness and safety than its competitors in all three categories."

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On his arrest and suspension, which happened when then-WWE and ECW Champion Van Dam and partner Sabu were arrested in Ohio for marijuana possession: "There was no way that I was going to be the longest-reigning world champion in WWE (laughs). Nobody thinks that. People like to say that the plans were dropped for ECW because of that night – heck no. Most people think that was just a transitional moment anyway. From my perspective, when people say that couldn't have happened at a worse time, I always say it couldn't have happened at a better time. You're never going to hear me apologize for that."

"The fact is if I wasn't the WWE and ECW world champion at the time, nobody would have cared. It wouldn't have been all over the news. But because it was, it drew a lot of attention to a very important fact. Whenever celebrities, especially pro athletes, get in the news for marijuana, it helps change the climate of marijuana. People say, "Wait, you can be a world champion graceful athlete who can walk the ropes and do back-flips – and smoke cannabis? How can that be?""

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On the criminal charges: "I paid a $100 fine for possession of marijuana. However, since the WWE suspended me it ended up costing me like $30,000 or $40,000 easily. And you know what? I asked for more time off at the end of the 30 days. That was one of my favorite months of my contract. That's how much I wanted out of there and how much I missed being home."

You can read a lot more about Rob Van Dam at
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