Chris Benoit's family is fighting to come to terms with not only his death, but also the untimely demise of their daughter-in-law and grandchild, said the wrestler's father yesterday. An angry Michael Benoit shot back at the press for the family having to face a constant barrage of media coverage on the double murder-suicide. ...The negative portrayal of his son in the press has caused nothing but heartache for the family, including two of Benoit's children. "It's people looking for their 15 minutes of fame," said a disgusted Michael from his Ardrossan-area home.
I guess some of you probably think it would be unkind to call the grieving Michael Benoit a fool for suggesting that the media should not have covered his celebrity son's murder of his wife and disabled child, and that if they were to cover it, the reportage shouldn't include a "negative portrayal" of the murderer.
But I ask you, why should Michael Benoit be grieving? While other parents were encouraging their children to go for higher education, he was turning his boy over to be schooled in the Hart family "dungeon." I'm not much younger than Chris Benoit, and the wrestling game's propensity for premature death was well understood to my friends and I in high school. Journalism ethics lecturer Michael Benoit allowed his son to enter a profession in which essentially nobody lives to be 50. Chris killed himself on, or immediately after, his 40th birthday. Aside from the extravagant manner of his death, didn't Dad see any of this coming? He didn't think anything was strange about his child's physical transformation into a giant pink vein-streaked boulder?
Perhaps the journalists who were ultimately responsible for every single tiny step forward in his son's show business career are entitled to ask whether Chris's life in wrestling paid for the car his father drives, the home in which he lives, year after year of golf clubs and cufflinks and big-screen TVs for Christmas... but then, even if none of this came with the deal Mr. Benoit signed, you can't put a price on being the father of a superstar. At least not in dollars.