WWE Legend Pat Patterson “Comes Out” as Gay in Strange Context
Last Thursday night on the series finale for WWE’s original television series for its network, Legends’ House, Pat Patterson, a former wrestler and long-time right hand man of Vince McMahon, came out publically to the other seven wrestling personalities involved in a video which you can watch below:
At first glance, this seems like a very poignant and emotional moment. The wrestling legends all start sharing personal moments that have affected them deeply and Patterson, now 73, shows great courage in coming out after 50 years to his “wrestling family” while becoming visibly emotional. Sharing tears as they receive the news, the other seven members respond in a very gracious manner making it almost a perfect moment for audiences to watch.
Except Patterson’s sexual orientation has been well known by the vast majority of people involved in the wrestling business, including everyone involved in Legends’ House, for at least forty years, if not more.
This is not the case of someone who has had their sexual orientation speculated for years and years such as Kevin Spacey or Queen Latifah. No, Patterson himself has been open about his lifestyle with people inside the company for years, a fact which has been written about in the wrestling press for decades. While he has never made an omission as public or as grand as he did on last night’s episode, his confession was also one that implied no one else knew…when that is far from the truth.
Patterson’s personal life has been reported multiple times in the past by the press. In 1992, Patterson was the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit in 1992 along with official Terry Garvin and ring announcer Mel Phillips, in which he was accused by former announcer Murray Hodgson. This controversy, that saw him leave WWE (WWF at the time) for a year, made his personal life very public in the press at the time. Even more recently, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was promoting his role as a homosexual bodyguard in the 2005 film Get Shorty, he specifically mentioned his inspiration coming from Pat Patterson, one of Johnson’s close friends in the wrestling business, who he specifically mentioned was homosexual.
That’s not to say that Patterson’s emotion wasn’t real here. As he admitted, “it’s tough and it was tough,” something I think no one will be able to dispute. And it was probably cathartic for the man to be able to say this publically on television after 50 years as well as recount how he lost his partner to a heart attack. But he didn’t say it in a television interview; he said it as a confession to men who already knew, which makes it comes off with slightly questionable intentions.
This whole thing reeks of exploitation though. This episode was actually filmed over two years ago and was shopped around to multiple outlets in the hopes it would get picked up long before the actual plans of the WWE Network came to fruition. Also, the mere fact that TMZ made a big deal about this just casts more doubt on the intentions behind the whole thing. A relationship between WWE and TMZ, or WWE’s desire for one, has been speculated for the past few years, especially after WWE Superstar Darren Young publically came out to a TMZ camera that was conveniently there to interview a wrestler who received less TV time last year than a little person dressed up in a bull costume. For a company with an obviously low public reputation, it’s not absurd to think they would be above trying to generate positive press for themselves, especially in the case of Patterson here.
A member of multiple wrestling Hall Of Fames, Pat Patterson has had a storied career in the wrestling industry, both in and out of the ring. As a wrestler, he was a major act in the 70′s in the San Francisco era before joining WWE (then called World Wide Wrestling Federation) and becoming the first ever Intercontinental Championship, a title which is still active today as WWE’s second-tier championship. After retiring in 1984, Patterson assumed various roles in the company, such as famously refereeing the main event for the first ever WrestleMania in 1985, before settling into a backstage role that saw him make innumerable contributions to WWE. Patterson’s biggest claim to fame might just be inventing the concept of the Royal Rumble
While it’s no question that Pat Patterson publically coming out is news, it’s really the circumstances of everything that makes this one a head-scratcher. It’s pretty well-known that reality shows are often as scripted as professional wrestling itself, but to stage a scene like this and try to fool your audience into thinking that this has been a secret Patterson has hid for half a century is just absurd when a simple Google search will dispute that in less time than a three count.
Jason Collins, a 13-year veteran of the National Basketball Association who last year became the league’s first openly gay player, is retiring. Collins, 35, announced his retirement in a first-person article for Sports Illustrated, saying it has been “been 18 exhilarating months” since he came out as the first openly gay man in one of the [...]November 19, 2014
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