Former WWE Superstar Lio Rush has finally opened up on the rumors last year that he had backstage heat for failing to go along with hazing long-considered "tradition" in the WWE locker room. Rumors at the time said Rush refused to carry the bags of other wrestlers or to buy them beer, as is often expected of "rookies" in the locker room. A lot of locker room "traditions" have been called out more accurately as bullying in recent years, but the incidents Rush was involved happened last year while he was working as a manager for Bobby Lashley. Rush was removed from that role and taken off television before later returning to NXT.
In an Instagram post, Rush wrote, "For too long now I've dealt with a lot of bad publicity, rumours and stories on the internet that attack, not just me as a wrestler, but attack my integrity. The attacks on my character have gone on too long without my side being heard. With everything going on in the world and a lot of social issues being brought to the forefront, I have to empower others by empowering myself. How can we expect change without sharing the experiences that illustrate the insensitivities that divide us?"
"Please be clear, I am in no way insinuating that the WWE is a racist company, nor am I commenting on the racial attitudes of any of the companies individuals," Rush continued. "However, this email shows that I expressed concerns of racial insensitivity and my feelings as a young African American male to the WWE office during the incidents that have brought so much negativity to my name." Rush finished his Instagram post with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. which read, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Rush then posted a screenshot of an email he sent to WWE management complaining about the exact incidents that were rumored, being told to carry other wrestlers' bags, carry coolers of beer on and off the bus, and hand out beer to other wrestlers, sent on November 8, 2019, with the subject line, "Objections to hostile work environment." In the letter, Rush says of the hazing, "i fundamentally disagree with this type of hazing. It is not within my job description or contract to perform duties of this kind. I would like it to be noted that i don't consider myself above any particular type of task, when breaking down rings at NXT was apart of my duties, I performed all duties happily and professionally. However what i am being told to do here is degrading and unprofessional. I don't believe that any of us are above or below each other, no one should be asked to serve another person or carry their belongings, but i feel very strongly about this matter being a young African American male. I find these demands to be racially insensitive. I feel that my non compliance has resulted in a escalating harassment that i find to be unacceptable." Check out the letter in full here.