With impending free agent status and hopes that he'll have his pick of companies with which to close out his career, Kurt Angle is making some statements on social media about his sobriety.
In August of last year, a new DWI arrest in Texas prompted the Olympic Gold Medalist to enter a rehabilitation program. TNA handled the issue straight-forwardly, and Angle was off of television for a few months. Since then, Angle has suffered some physical challenges in the form of knee injuries, but there have been no new legal incidents or other official reports of setbacks in treating his substance abuse/addiction issues.
Earlier this week though, some dirt screens reported that a photo of Kurt passed out on a flight were making the rounds backstage at WWE. The presumption was that he was passed out due to drugs or alcohol rather than just a guy sleeping on a flight - I have not seen the picture in question (if it even exists) and can't judge one way or another.
In an effort to snuff out the rumor, probably at least in part because it wouldn't help his chances of getting a contract offer from WWE, Angle posted the following on Facebook yesterday:
I'm excited to say I'm coming up on My 1 year anniversary of being clean and sober. Im Very Humbled. GOD has truly Blessed Me. It's been a difficult but exciting road to living alcohol/drug free. Then some heartless individuals want to create rumors of Me "passed out" on a plane. Wow! I guess You can't take a nap on a plane when Youre a recovering addict. But it only makes Me want to stay clean even more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He also linked to that post on his Twitter:
Rumors are the root of evil. The truth will endure. Here is the truth! pic.twitter.com/qOsvOUvtWS— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) July 9, 2014
Frequent past denials of substance abuse will cause some to doubt anything he says, but it's really a matter for Kurt, his family, co-workers and employer. We've seen no signs on Impact Wrestling that he's been intoxicated, so other than being concerned for his health, fans shouldn't try to make his business our business.
If there are wrestlers or others - at WWE or anywhere - getting a laugh about a context-less picture or actively trying to damage the man's career, that's just wrong.
We'll take Angle at his word and look forward to congratulating him on a year of sobriety next month.
And we'll stay tuned to see where the multi-time world champ steps back into the ring come October.