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• WWE Suspends 10 Wrestlers

UPDATE 11/01/07
WWE will be revealing the names of the Wellness Policy Violators involved in the Signature Pharmacy Scandal soon. Unless they dropped the idea, we should be seeing those names revealed on their website by the end of the day on Thursday (November 1).
Stay tuned here for more… I’ll post as soon as I have it!

The WWE has suspended 10 wrestlers today because their names showed up on a list found at a doctors office who is under investigation by the FBI. This is the statement from WWE

Wellness Policy Suspensions
Written: August 30, 2007
Based on independent information received from investigators from the Albany County, NY D.A.’s office, WWE has today, under the penalty provisions of its wellness policy, issued suspension notices to 10 of its performers for violations. It has been WWE’s practice not to release the names of those who have been suspended, but notice has been sent to all WWE performers that names of anyone who is suspended under the Wellness Policy as of November 1 will be made public.

According to Fox News

World Wrestling Entertainment gave the smackdown to 10 of its wrestlers after a prosecutor’s office shared information about their names turning up on customer lists for a Florida pharmacy under investigation for the illegal distribution of drugs.

The Stamford, Conn.-based WWE suspended the wrestlers Thursday for violations of a policy that tests for steroids and other drugs.

“We were provided some independent information from the investigation in Albany County. Based on that information, we suspended 10 of our performers,” Gary Davis, a spokesman for WWE, told FOXNews.com.

More suspensions are possible, Davis added. The company hasn’t released the names of suspended wrestlers but starting Nov. 1, the names will be made public.

Davis would not say how long the suspensions are for, but under a WWE wellness policy began in February 2006 that bans the non-medical use of prescriptions and performance-enhancing drugs, a wrestler faces a 30-day suspension without pay for a first violation, a 60-day suspension for a second violation and firing for a third violation.

Pro wrestler Chris Benoit, who killed his family before hanging himself in June, was a client of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Fla. Benoit had a steroid and other drugs in his system at the time of his death, according to investigators.
The Albany County District Attorney’s Office, New York State Health Department, Orlando Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Attorney General launched “Operation ‘Which Doctor’ ” into Signature Pharmacy and a nationwide ring of steroid distribution.

The pharmacy was shipping illegal steroids into Albany County, Heather Orth, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, told FOXNews.com. The office reviewed records affiliated with the pharmacy and so far, have charged about 24 people with criminal charges in connection to the pharmacy and its illegal distribution, Orth said.

Nine people, including doctors, pharmacists or people associated with clinics, pleaded guilty so far, Orth said. Signature’s owners have pleaded not guilty.

“We are not interested in the athletes,” Orth said, adding that no users have faced criminal charges. “The athletes are secondary to our primary focus of taking down Signature Pharmacy.”

P. David Soares, district attorney for Albany County, thanked the WWE for helping in their investigation.

“We appreciate the continued cooperation of World Wrestling Entertainment in our ongoing investigation into Signature Pharmacy and their distribution network,” Soares said in a statement.

The Benoit case prompted the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to ask WWE to turn over any information it has on steroid and drug abuse in pro wrestling. The committee has not yet scheduled a hearing on the case.

WWE has responded to congressional committees requesting information but they have not been approached about testifying before lawmakers in possible hearings, Davis said.

UPDATE 9/04/07

It is reported that a talent meeting was held at the WWE SmackDown/ECW tapings in which officials addressed the recent steroid controversy. Its details on the report are highlighted below:

Stephanie McMahon reportedly told talent that thirteen wrestlers were suspended for their link to online pharmacies and two were suspended for drug test failures. WWE had only publicly announced eleven suspensions; it remains unknown whether Stephanie made a mistake or if there are more suspensions to be announced.

Stephanie also said that Vince McMahon is looking forward to the chance to testify at the expected Congressional hearings on pro wrestling.

During the meeting, Batista expressed frustration with the fact that a number of media outlets connected him to Signature Pharmacy. The wrestler, who claims he has never dealt with that business, supposedly asked Stephanie if he had any legal course of action against the outlets, including ESPN, that linked him to the online drug ring.

Triple H concluded the meeting with a motivational speech about how the wrestlers, who are living their dream job, need to come together to work through the current controversy.

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