Chris Benoit was a 40-year-old world-class skilled wrestler who gained a number of championships together with within the NJPW and WCW. He gained 15 championships within the WWF/WWE alone. He was thought-about one of many best skilled wrestlers of all time.
On the finish of June 2007, Benoit missed some performances as a result of he mentioned his spouse and son had meals poisoning and had been vomiting blood. He then missed a pay-per-view match resulting from what was characterised as a household emergency. The world would quickly study that the Benoit household was useless.
On June 25, 2007 three our bodies had been found on the Benoit dwelling in Fayetteville, Georgia: Chris Benoit, his spouse Nancy Benoit, and his 7-year-old son Daniel. It was decided that the household had been killed in a 3 day lengthy murder-suicide perpetrated by Chris. Nancy Benoit was certain. Daniel Benoit was dosed with Xanax and believed to be unconscious on the time he was strangled to demise. Chris Benoit positioned Bibles subsequent to his member of the family’s our bodies, despatched textual content messages to pals saying he had left the canine within the enclosed pool space and left a facet door open, after which died by hanging from one among his train machines. Chris had an older son and daughter that had been residing in Canada on the time and had been unhurt.
The world was shocked by information of the murder-suicide. Information tales had been affected by quotes from individuals who knew Chris professionally and socially who said things like “I don’t know what occurred, I simply actually couldn’t inform you what occurred. Chris was one of many kindest, politest folks. I by no means noticed the man get mad, not one single time. He didn’t get upset about something.” His father described Chris as a “kind and gentle” man who cherished working with kids by Make-A-Want. Whereas that is one thing that’s claimed about abusers and murderers on a regular basis (take into consideration the stereotype of the assassin whose neighbors say he was a pleasant man, or the narcissistic abuser who seems charming and upstanding in his public life), assessments achieved on Benoit’s physique posthumously did present a major quantity of mind harm. The controversy surrounding the Benoit household deaths relies across the query of whether or not Chris Benoit was a foul man in secret or whether or not his office accidents altered his habits in a considerable manner.
At first, folks’s knee-jerk response was responsible Chris’ earlier anabolic steroid use for the murder-suicide, the stereotype of “roid rage” being rooted in generally noticed signs of elevated aggression in anabolic steroid customers. Nonetheless, it’s unknown whether or not he was utilizing anabolic steroids on the time and roid rage has been ruled out as an explanation for the family’s deaths. Chris and Nancy each had Xanax and an opioid painkiller of their methods, probably at therapeutic ranges (not like Daniel who’s believed to have been sedated into unconsciousness previous to his demise). There have been additionally opened wine bottles across the dwelling. Chris Benoit visited his private doctor, Dr. Phil Astin, the day earlier than the murders began. Dr. Astin was beforehand charged by federal authorities in two unrelated circumstances of improperly prescribing drugs to patients.
Whereas roid rage was dominated out as a contributing issue on this crime, the investigation did reveal that Chris Benoit and different wrestlers had damaged the phrases of the WWE’s “Expertise Wellness Program” which prohibits athletes from taking leisure medicine or anabolic steroids. This system has additionally been efficiently used to assist in early detection of cardiac well being points for wrestlers.
Chris Benoit’s surviving son, David, spoke recently about the tragedy saying, “He would by no means try this, I do know he wouldn’t. I feel one thing terribly went improper. The physician mentioned he had CTE. That’s what, initially, gave me some closure. It simply made my life somewhat simpler, didn’t have to consider it. He had CTE. I don’t suppose it was him.”
Benoit was identified for his aggressive wrestling model amassing “more concussions than he could count.” A trademark of his profession was a “diving headbutt” the place Benoit would soar from the highest rope and hit an opponent on the mat along with his head.
Analysis achieved by the Sports activities Legacy Institute revealed that Benoit had did have continual traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) because of his athletic profession. Posthumous assessments carried out on his physique determined that, “Benoit’s mind was so severely broken it resembled the mind of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s affected person.” CTE is a serious brain disease that may trigger reminiscence loss, bother pondering clearly, temper swings, dizziness, bother talking, bother with steadiness, dementia and suicide. CTE is widespread in any group of people that expertise head accidents (boxers, individuals who have served within the army, home violence victims) together with 99% of the NFL. Whereas signs of CTE seem 8-10 years after the mind damage, there may be at the moment no option to diagnose the illness till the affected person is useless.
Together with household annihilation, suicide is a standard technique of untimely demise for athletes who’re posthumously identified with CTE. (It’s seemingly that this is applicable to the overall inhabitants of people that have suffered repeat concussions, however typically solely athletes are examined for CTE).
A number of different males who’ve dedicated violence in opposition to themselves or others who’ve had or are suspected of getting CTE:
- O.J. Simpson who’s (infamously) suspected of murdering his ex-wife and one other man is believed to have CTE. The doctor who first identified the disease said, “I’d guess my medical license on it.”
- Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski who died by suicide at solely 21-years of age, was confirmed to have CTE.
- New England Patriots tight finish Aaron Hernandez murdered the person relationship his girlfriend’s sister and probably two different folks earlier than dying by suicide. Researchers studying his brain said he had “probably the most extreme case of continual traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) ever found in an individual his age.”
- Chicago Bears security Dave Duerson requested that his mind be left to science earlier than he died by suicide, he was then confirmed to have CTE.
- Kansas Metropolis Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend whereas she was with their toddler little one after which died by suicide. The kid survived. CTE was present in his mind.
- Kellen Winslow Jr. performed within the NFL for nearly 10 years earlier than being charged with a number of counts of rape, kidnapping, and sexual battery. His protection lawyer argued that CTE precipitated Winslow to commit the crimes and he was truly given a sentence nearly as little as his lawyer’s supply (14 years to the urged 12 years).
- Junior Seau performed nearly twenty years within the NFL earlier than capturing himself within the coronary heart. He was confirmed to have CTE after his demise.
- Phillip Adams was an NFL cornerback who killed 6 folks after which died by suicide throughout a police standoff. He was not in a position to be examined for CTE, although his father believes soccer “messed him up”.
- Dave Mirra was a pro-BMX biker who died by suicide and was the primary journey sports activities athlete identified with CTE, although he was additionally an newbie boxer (the game of boxing carries the very best threat of CTE).
Fairly than use the Benoit household’s deaths as a studying second, the WWE scrubbed the existence of Chris Benoit off of their web site and easily stopped mentioning him in any respect. In November 2017, 55 skilled wrestlers filed a lawsuit in opposition to the WWE for CTE-related office accidents they’d acquired whereas performing for the group. The lawsuit was dismissed by the USA Courtroom of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 2020.
One of many truest statements about intimate associate and household violence comes, morbidly, from the 1996 slasher film Scream wherein Randy the horror film skilled says of a possible suspect, “there’s at all times some silly bullshit purpose to kill your girlfriend.” True crime reveals like Forensic Recordsdata and Dateline have countless episodes a few husband or spouse who murdered their associate. Irrespective of how blissful they appeared on the skin, time and time once more we’ve seen circumstances the place there was a motive hidden within the assassin’s personal life. For instance, within the just lately extremely publicized case of Gabby Petito, she was murdered by her fiance solely two months into what appeared like an idyllic cross-country highway journey on social media. Simply because the Benoit household appeared blissful to outsiders doesn’t imply that’s what it was truly like for Nancy and Daniel on the within.
It also needs to be mentioned that if CTE causes folks to change into violent and we all know that, for example, 20% of highschool soccer gamers and 99% of the NFL have CTE, it looks like now we have an obligation to warn folks away from relationships with those that have performed these sports activities or have suffered head accidents previously. Not as a result of these males don’t deserve love and neighborhood, however as a result of they aren’t protected to be round as we nonetheless wrestle to view abuse as a public well being downside fairly than a non-public relationship or household subject that particular person ladies and youngsters are accountable for defending themselves from. If somebody finds themselves in a relationship with an athlete or veteran with a historical past of concussions, what assets can be found to her to make sure that she and her kids might be protected as he ages and the signs of CTE worsen? Will folks take heed to her if she shares that her as soon as wholesome relationship is now abusive? Is there a manner she will alert authorities or well being professionals that can truly lead to security and dignity for everybody concerned? That isn’t one thing that at the moment exists. Now we have to construct it.
After marrying in 2000, Nancy Benoit filed for divorce in 2003 saying that Chris handled her cruelly and had explosive anger that generally resulted in his throwing furniture around their home. She additionally filed for a restraining order which she dropped three months later. After their deaths, police found text messages between the two that mentioned Nancy was having issue residing with Chris’ “roid rage”.
Maybe the straightforward clarification is that causes and motives of violent acts are at all times as complicated because it seems within the Chris Benoit case however as a result of we don’t have a two-decade plus relationship (if even simply by TV and social media) with the perpetrator, now we have no real interest in empathizing with them or understanding the elements that result in violence and tragedy.