In a bizarre case of corruption, the governor of Florida decided that WWE wrestlers are "essential" employees amid the coronavirus because he didn't like the void of sports on television.
What The Nation's sports reporter David Zirin found is what he thinks is an outright "quid pro quo," he noted, "stinks to high heaven."
Speaking to MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Wednesday, Zirin explained that on April 9 Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) declared wrestlers essential workers in the state. The exact same day, Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the WWE with her husband Vince McMahon, announced that her super PAC was going to spend $18.5 million in the state of Florida. McMahon is also a member of President Donald Trump's cabinet.
"Now why is that important?" Zirin asked rhetorically. "Because on April 10, that's the day Vince McMahon decided to resume live programming. Why is that important? Because by showing live programming, he is not in violation of his contract with either Fox Sports or the USA Network. These contracts are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and he's only allowed three live shows per year and he's not in violation of the contract."
Hayes stopped Zirin, floored that it all happened in the exact same time.
"It's the same day that it's announced they are dropping $18.5 million into the state of Florida," Zirin continued. "Now on April 10th, that's when Vince McMahon says 'we're going to continue with live programming which is critical to his tv deals.' On April 13th, this is really bizarre. This is when Gov. DeSantis produces declaration, that claims wrestlers were essential workers. Nobody saw this declaration coming, on April 9th. It wasn't posted to websites or announced. It was only announced on April 13th when there were all these questions and these questions."
He noted that there were questions about WWE because, as it turns out, there is a member of the WWE team that has tested positive for COVID-19.
"So, there is this question that arises of how are you having live events, how are you having people not social distancing?" Zirin asked. "How are you letting business go on as usual if somebody has the coronavirus but it is going on as usual and today, April 15th, they announced tons of layoffs from WWE, let a lot of people go, fired a lot of performers while announcing their stock price reaching a good high on the up and they had $500 million cash reserves."
The person who announced all of this is Vince McMahon, the person who was just added to President Donald Trump's advisory council that will decide when the government reopens.
Watch the full conversation below: