Remember two days ago when Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal went before the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a hearing on his for a positive drug test, got asked if he understood and could read English, was suspended and fined and then went on twitter to call the commissioner who asked about his literacy a racist? Well, her boss seems to disagree with that assessment.
We wrote NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer to ask him if he felt that Commissioner Pat Lundvall’s line of questioning was offensive, racially or otherwise, or if her questions represented standard procedure in Nevada’s ongoing quest to emphasize fighters taking personal responsibility. Kizer was direct and concise in his response:
“The questioning was foundational in nature, very common and quite appropriate,” Kizer wrote us back.
During Lawal’s hearing on Tuesday, the accuracy of his pre-fight questionnaire — which asks, among other things, about medications that a fighter may be taking as well as recent and ongoing injuries that he or she may have — was called into question. Discrepancies seemed to arise between what was put down on those forms (and who even filled the forms out) and Lawal’s subsequent claims. During questioning, Lundvall asked Lawal if he understood English, could read English, and a few other condescending questions.
Lawal has since said that he felt insulted for being asked that, considering that he had been speaking to the commission in English for some time at that point and attended college in these United States. The Southern-born wrestler said Lundvall’s line of questioning reminded him of discrimination from his past.
Listen to some audio of Lawal’s hearing below (you can fast forward to around the 6:50 mark to hear Lundvall ask Lawal about understanding English, owning a PC, having an email address and other deadpan gold). There isn’t any particular reason to believe that Commissioner Lundvall’s questioning of Lawal was racially motivated, but it was certainly a dressing-down.
What do you think, nation? Racism, race-baiting or simple misunderstanding among friends?