Tessa Blanchard’s social media statement lacks acknowledgement of any wrongdoing as she prepares for a potential return to wrestling.
Professional wrestling as an industry is one that is frequently at odds with ideas surrounding accountability. There is a myriad of examples, especially recently, of wrestlers and individuals behind the scenes who’ve been called out for despicable behavior; the overall cry to cleanse the industry of these names to make it a space more welcoming to all. Multiple time champion, Tessa Blanchard has been among the list of those called out for past actions. Her recent social media post, along with other rumblings around the sport, are building the idea that she is set for a major return. When that happens is not the question, but rather should she be welcomed back based on the accusations put in front of her. What is more interesting is whether those same second chances are afforded to men and women of color who have dedicated just as much to this industry.
Blanchard is a third-generation professional wrestler, who at 25-years of age is considered one of the best in the industry. She made history in 2020 when she became the first woman to hold a major promotions main title, when she captured the Impact World championship. However, that moment, which was supposed to be met with adulation, was met with accusations of racism, and bullying that should never be ignored.
This all started back in January when Blanchard took to Twitter to call for women to “support one another,” a message that is positive. But she, nor everyone watching expected the widespread backlash sent her way. As reported by Alfred Konuwa of Forbes accusations of bullying flooded social media, but the stunning issue came from Allysin Kay who mentioned that Blanchard spat on a female-performer and called her the N-word. La Rosa Negra eventually confirmed that she was the person in question and other individuals confirmed the occurrence.
As mentioned, this came at a time when Blanchard was supposed to be on top of the wrestling world. When faced with questions about the matter, she never once apologized for the matter.
“I’ve made mistakes, I’ve faced challenges,” Blanchard said while speaking to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful. “One thing I will say though, I’ve never used a racial slur of any kind in my life. It is not something that I have done, it is not something that I will do. It’s just not me.”
She stepped away from the industry for a while, but an Instagram post from September 26 shows that she is ready to return.
“The point of this post is because I’m taking back the control of my narrative,” Blanchard posted to Instagram. “Racist? That’s not me, that’s never been me, I don’t have a history of being that way, I don’t have a history of using that language and that’s the end of it, it’s just not who I am, and I’m tired of being called and my family seeing me be called something so hateful.”
Her statement goes on to thank God for being blessed and the people who support her. But she never apologizes for the accusations that were sent her way. She never admits any true wrongdoing or says anything that makes it clear that she is grown from this matter. Not acknowledging any wrongdoing is an attempt to silence the accusers who were most troubled by her alleged actions. In fact, her avoiding any accountability and ownership of the issue screams of white privilege. It is a benefit of being who she is and one that will potentially see her land at a major organization without any opposition.
Think about whether people of color in the wrestling industry experience this same type of “second chances.” Lio Rush and ACH are still attacked for being outspoken against their alleged treatment while a part of the WWE. Ivelisse is another example, as any time her name is mentioned, her past transgressions are immediately mentioned as if they are par for the course. People of color, but especially women of color, do not have the luxury of ignoring such damming accusations as Blanchard has continued to do to this day.
It goes without saying that Tessa Blanchard is a very talented professional wrestler. At 25-years of age she is young enough to make a change and correct the actions of her past. But she is yet to apologize or even truly acknowledge what happened back in 2017, along with all the other accusations she is faced. But it should be expected that she will be a hot talent in the industry, even if those same opportunities are not afforded to all.