Michael Sam, who made headlines earlier this year as the first openly-gay football player to be drafted into the NFL, was cut by the St. Louis Rams this week after failing to make the final roster. What does that have to do with WWE or professional wrestling?
But this industry plays out like a live action Choose Your Own Adventure. After each episode of Monday Night RAW, script writers have the opportunity to continue in the direction they were going, or take a chance and chase something that may prove more lucrative down the road.
Sometimes they do both, and dog-ear the page they were on, just in case it doesn't pan out.
That's probably why Sam was issued an open invitation to join the organization's flagship program on Sept. 8 in Baltimore, Maryland. The timing is not coincidental, either, as Monday Night Football kicks off its 2014 season that same evening. As it does every year, WWE can expect to hemorrhage viewers from their shared demographic.
But if Sam was in "Charm City" with a hot mic?
Maybe that's worth sticking around for. Not that you could tell last night on Twitter, as fans -- who were united by a collective facepalm following the invitation -- pessimistically envisioned all the ways WWE could screw this up (and for good reason).
I'm not so sure this has to be the train wreck we're expecting.
Naturally, we're operating under the presumption that Sam accepts the invitation, which probably isn't the best idea if he's legitimately trying to find a new place to ply his trade (reports have him flirting with the Dallas Cowboys pending a physical).
The counter to that, of course, is the self-promotion maxim exposing the myth of bad publicity. Bad press is like bad heat inside the squared circle: You might be the biggest jerk in the room, but at least they're talking about you. And they're definitely talking about Michael Sam.
For how much longer remains to be seen, which explains why WWE is looking to strike while the iron is hot.
Historically, Vince McMahon and Co. have treated homosexuality like they were hosting a frat party. Hot, lesbian action was something to be championed, while gay men served as a punchline to emasculate dudebros. And we can't overlook its chronic mishandling of black performers.
Sam provides a mea culpa for both.
Darren Young, who also came out this year (to little fanfare), was not afforded the same red carpet because he's not going to make headlines outside the pro wrestling bubble. "Mr. No Days Off" said his peace, got a decent push, and faded away after injuring his knee.
And it's such a pro wrasslin' thing to now have that spot go to someone with a bigger name who clearly doesn't deserve it.
But if Sam is going to show up on RAW, then we should at least have some fun with it. One of our readers suggested that he come out to the ring only to be interrupted by Damien Sandow, the industry's hottest character actor, who of course would be mocked up as Damien Sam-dow (sans black face, I hope).
Sam-dow would sidestep any talk of sexual orientation and proceed to bury him as a wannabe football player, until the crowd felt comfortable with Sam as a babyface. A few more pigskin puns would follow and POW! The typical celebrity revenge spot we're so accustomed to.
Music hits, Sam pumps his fist, crowd cheers.
Get him in and get him out. The last thing we need is a pipe bomb, or enough dead air to give the "Universe" time to coordinate a CM Punk chant. He probably shouldn't even be there in the first place, but this is the entertainment business and it's surely just a matter of time before Sam turns up on Saturday Night Live.
And have you seen that show lately? Now that would be bad publicity.