Monday, February 17, 2014

A lousy response from ROH COO Joe Koff about Domestic Violence

On yesterday's edition of Live Audio Wrestling, hosts Dan Lovranski and Jason Agnew interviewed WWE performer Damien Sandow, wrestling and MMA writer Dave Meltzer and Ring of Honor COO Jeff Koff.

You can listen to the entire episode on the Fight Network website or download the MP3 directly.

What has been noteworthy, was a two minutes section where ROH COO Koff discussed the the TMZ story that Matt Hardy and wife Reby Sky were arrested for assault and battery on New Year's Eve.

The section of the interview being discussed starts at 1 hour 17 minutes in and last about two minutes.

Here is my transcription from the conversation:
LAW: "Recently, there was a very public story involving Matt Hardy and his wife. What, is there any reaction from Ring of Honor's point? I mean, what do you do in this situation where there technically isn't any charges filed but it does become a public story when it shows up on TMZ?" 
Koff: "Yeah, you know what, it did appear on TMZ and did happen. Of course it happened so much earlier than when it was finally reported."
LAW: "Right." 
Koff: "Umm.. You know, I gotta tell you something John, there's really not a lot about it. I mean I saw the stuff on TMZ and I saw a couple of facebook, you know, comments about Matt wrestling, in, you know, Philadelphia. Um, I think it's really not a big deal. Um, I don't have a position on that and I mean, I think that charges were dropped, um. You never want to get involved in domestic stuff, in domestic relationships, and domestic disputes. But if the court of law, or the judicial system could find no fault with it, um, you know, I don't feel that's something we necessarily have to take a stance." 
LAW: "Alright. Fair enough." 
Koff: "I'm not shirking that, I'm just saying that it wasn't as big as... I think the fact that CM Punk said that he's wasn't going to wrestle for WWE, or when that story came out around that same time, I think it kind of overshadowed it." 
LAW: "Well, I think.. you know, when it comes to domestic violence, it's obviously a very sensitive topic for many people. And it's obviously one that's very different to react to-" 
Koff: "I mean had the outcome to been different, you know, from a judicial standpoint or, you know, a charge standpoint, I can accept that. but really it was just a domestic battle. You know they're two wrestlers, they're probably very physical people." 
LAW: "OK. Interesting.... analogy there... so..."
I do agree with Todd Martin (who first brought up the interview on the F4W board) that Koff's response on the matter is completely inadequate, especially the CM Punk analogy and the really ridiculous comments at the end about "physical people".

Koff had an opportunity to address the situation and did a terrible job representing his organization.  

He didn't need to talk about the specific incident, but he should have sent a strong message about the subject.  He just had to say something like, "We obviously have no tolerance for domestic abuse and we will always take that subject seriously. We have discussed this incident with both Matt & Reby and while no charges were ultimately filed, we made it clear that we were alarmed about this situation and the health and safety of both of them."

What he ended up saying was both embarrassing and came across as quite flippant when dealing with an incident that displayed some dangerous and alarming behavior.

I would encourage you listen to the interview (1:17:00 - 1:19:00) as the text may or may not fully capture the conversation.

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