News Sullivan’s WWE fine reportedly ‘real’, Titus thanks Lars for apologizing to roster

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The fine levied by WWE against Dylan “Lars Sullivan” Miley yesterday (May 14) for racist, sexist & homophobic comments made on message boards before he signed with the company in 2013 was a major topic of discussion on the post-SmackDown edition of Wrestling Observer Radio early this morning.

According to Dave Meltzer the $100,000 penalty is “real”, and is likely close to what Sullivan made performing in NXT all of last year. It’s not confirmed how he’ll pay the fine, but it could be deducted in increments from future paychecks. The amount is believed to be the second highest in WWE history, behind only the $150,000 Steve Austin was fined for walking out in 2002 (and equal to the $100K Dave Bautista paid for blading when he was told not to at Cyber Sunday in 2008).

As to why WWE picked that amount, Meltzer says it’s because once word got to sponsors about Sullivan’s comments, the company knew it had to make a substantial gesture - but still wanted to keep him on the roster:

“There were some sponsors that complained, and WWE felt that it had to publicly take action. I think that they had to take really, really strong action to keep him, because they didn’t want to fire him. So they had to do something that looked like, ‘we’re really sticking it to him’ to keep him. They think a lot of his potential.”
Garrett Gonzales and Meltzer also discussed how there’s no way such a fine would occur or stick if WWE’s independent contractors had any sort of collective bargaining agreement, and that Lars’ only alternative to paying would probably be to quit. There wasn’t much talk about the sensitivity training requirement, but that is legitimate and something Sullivan will have to do soon, as well.

That’s backed up by Titus O’Neil, who also confirmed a report that Sullivan has reached out to individuals in the locker room to apologize and discuss the situation. O’Neil included praise for WWE’s response in his tweeted comment:

.@LarsSWWE I Applaud you for seeking out myself&Others on the @WWE Roster to not only Sincerely Apologize, But also seek Guidance as to how to move forward in being a Better Human Being than you were 9years ago. Nobody is Perfect Including Thank you @VinceMcMahon 4Taking action!!

— Titus O'Neil (@TitusONeilWWE) May 15, 2019
Will this close the book on the controversy? Meltzer believes WWE thinks it will, and will hold up the amount of the fine as proof to critics they took the situation seriously.

In the end, it will be up to fans to decide.

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