Why Was WWE Betting Unethical?

If you’ve been following the news recently, you might have heard about something called Coronavirus, or COVID-19 for short. A new disease that’s been causing havoc all over the world, infecting hundreds of thousands, if not more so far.

It first showed up in China, and has since spread to other parts of the world. Most notably, the US, which has more than 300 cases and around 10 deaths so far.

While there’s no doubt that this is a serious global issue that needs to be addressed, the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) have a lot to answer for in the lead up to this pandemic. In fact, in one of the latest episodes of their popular podcast, the Cut Your Own Wool, they admitted to intentionally spreading misinformation about COVID-19 in a cynical attempt to draw attention away from the health risks associated with their product.

A Long Time Coming

The podcast, which is hosted by Chris Beard and Matt Agnew, begins with a discussion about the recent news regarding the WWE. Agnew, who’s a long-time contributor to the RSD blog, and also works for the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association, notes that there have been many high-profile cases of health problems caused by the consumption of sports content in the past. For example, he mentions that NBA players have been known to contract viral strains of diseases such as the flu and the common cold due to spending so much time in close proximity to one another while playing sports. So, he references a 2017 Reddit thread where users discussed how dangerous professional sports can be, especially when it comes to your health.

Beard, on the other hand, brings up a podcast from last year where he and Agnew discussed similar issues. In fact, the very first episode of the Cut Your Own Wool podcast is about the 2017 Australian Open, during which time a number of top players tested positive for the Wuhan Virus, which was at that time know to be a variant of the COVID-19 virus. While there’s no evidence that the players contracted the virus from their fans, it’s certainly a scary thought that it could have been a factor. As Beard points out, in that particular case, there were legitimate public health risks associated with the event. It’s important to note here that while the Wuhan Virus was initially named the ‘SARS-CoV-2′ virus in early March, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) named it ‘COVID-19′ on March 20th.

A Lack Of Education

This point was also brought up in the 2017 Australian Open thread, where users questioned the need for the event to go ahead as planned, given the ongoing pandemic. It was suggested that in light of the current health situation, people needed to be more wary of large gatherings, and that perhaps the Australian Open should be rescheduled.

The discussion then turns to the need for educating the public about the dangers of excessive sports participation, and specifically the dangers of professional sports. One of the podcasts Agnew references is called Unethical Marketing, and was put together by the Center for Digital Democracy. It’s a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the ethics of marketing during a pandemic.

Ignorance Is No Excuse

As noted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have officially named the Wuhan Virus as COVID-19. However, in the early days of the pandemic, many websites, blogs, and even some news articles were still referring to it as the ‘SARS-CoV-2′ virus. This was, in part, because the Wuhan Virus is a form of the COVID-19 virus, but also because the World Health Organization (WHO) initially considered the SARS-CoV-2 virus to be a variant of the SARS virus, which was first discovered in 2003.

The misnaming of the Wuhan Virus was, and still is, a source of great frustration for some people, including Matt Agnew. So much so that he decides to give some irresponsible individuals (namely, the WWE) a piece of his mind. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the WWE have been accused of something like this. Back in 2015, after the Kobe Bryant rape case, fans accused the organization of trying to prevent the details of the case from becoming public. While the details of the case were never made public, it was later revealed that the NFL and NBA had tried to block the publication of the rape allegation. Despite this, the public still sided with the victim. In the end, the NFL and NBA provided settlements to the victim (known as “Jane Doe” in court documents).

Despite this alleged attempt to keep the Kobe Bryant rape case under wraps, the WWE continued to be accused of more misdeeds. Just a few days ago, former baseball player José Canseco stated that the organization had been “hacking my phone” since February.

A Product To Be Avoided

When the topic of avoiding sports content comes up, it’s not hard to see how the WWE might be connected to the recent outbreak of the Wuhan Virus. After all, it’s fair to assume that someone who regularly consumes their product is more likely to become sick from this new strain of coronavirus than someone who doesn’t watch or listen to sports. This is something that the Center for Digital Democracy’s Unethical Marketing podcast agrees with. So, in their words:

“The bottom line is that the Wuhan virus is a horrible pandemic that’s been caused by irresponsible and unethical marketing. That’s what these podcasts are trying to get across. It’s not that sports are bad, it’s that the marketers behind them have been irresponsible and they’ve used deceit and disinformation to make money.”

So, to answer the question “Why Was WWE Betting Unethical?” Simply put, because they’re a bunch of scummy, lying cheats who think that they can get away with anything. In the end, it’s important to keep in mind that while the media outlets and podcasts mentioned above provide a valuable service during these trying times, ultimately, the truth will prevail.