Former WCW announcer: “Jim Ross is dead wrong to have anything nice to say about Snuka”

Jan 24, 2017 - by Steve Gerweck

Former WCW announcer Chris Cruise posted the following on his Facebook page:

I respect Jim Ross personally and certainly professionally but I’m embarrassed for him that he would stand up for a murderer. I think his love for pro wrestling and his closeness to Jimmy Snuka have seriously affected his judgment and I believe, and certainly hope, that one day he will come to deeply regret what he said about Snuka’s involvement in the Nancy Argentino case.

According to the Wrestling Observer, Ross recently spoke on a podcast about the WWE’s tribute to Jimmy Snuka. He said he “had no issues with it. I was glad they recognized it and recognized his passing. For wrestling fans, for many of them, he meant a lot to a generation of fans. I’m glad that they acknowledged it.”

I understand why the WWE would acknowledge Snuka’s passing at the beginning of RAW. But I am distressed that they would produce a video package (aired later in the show). When you kill someone, that negates most if not all of your accomplishments in life. I have no doubt whatsoever that had Nancy Argentino been killed by someone other than a well-known athlete — as Snuka was at the time he beat her to death — that her murderer would have been behind bars long ago. Instead, forces conspired to allow her murderer to go free.
I’m not sure if Ross’ comments were aimed at me; I do know that I have been very vocal on Facebook, including on Bob Backlund’s FB page, about the need to never forget Nancy and to always temper any tributes for Snuka with the allegation, technically unproven, that he killed her. Regardless of the target of the comments, Ross’s words should not go unchallenged.

I got a lot of pushback on my comments, mostly from fanboys angry that I would dare criticize Snuka at that time and in that place. I had no sympathy for his family, they said. And they were right. I have sympathy for the family of the young woman he beat to death. I reserve my sympathy for the victims, not the perpetrators of violence. And so should we all.

We are entitled to form and express our opinion about a case before it goes to trial and even after a verdict has been rendered. We all did that with OJ. Why can’t we do that with Snuka, especially since even a cursory examination of the documents would convince any reasonable person, in my opinion, of his guilt. Prosecutors don’t bring 30-year old cases unless they have a strong belief that they can prove their allegations.

And what better time and place to remind the world that Snuka murdered Nancy Argentino than at the time of his death? What sympathy has he earned? None. Where is the sympathy for the family of the woman Snuka murdered? What is wrong with our society that we would defend the memory of a murderer and not the woman he beat to death? What has happened to us? Are we so celebrity-obsessed that we would take the side of someone who is famous over the side of someone whom that celebrity murdered? Have we learned nothing from the OJ case?

In the podcast, Ross was reported to have said that “it’s the wrong form, in my view, to continue to wear out a topic of a trial that never happened and a court case that’s been dismissed.”

The trial never happened because Snuka wasn’t mentally and physically capable of standing trial or assisting in his defense. The court case was dismissed for that reason, not because the case was weak.

And Ross conveniently neglects to note that a civil trial, with a lower burden of proof than a criminal trial, in fact did happen. Snuka was found responsible for Nancy’s death. Her family was awarded $500,000 — and in all the years since the judgment he reportedly never paid the family a cent. So let’s not forget that a court did, indeed, render judgment on whether Snuka was responsible for Nancy Argentino’s death.

We’re all entitled to our opinions, even uninformed ones, even ones influenced by our closeness to someone or our love of wrestling. But informed opinions should carry more weight. Ross himself admits that he is expressing an uninformed opinion when he says “I don’t know what happened and all this other stuff regarding Jimmy and the lady that was murdered.”

Well, no, Jim, you don’t. In fact, the only two people who know what happened are dead — one of stomach cancer, the other of a beating. But we can read the police reports, the news reports in the Allentown Morning Call, the work done by writer Irv Muchnick, the medical reports and the indictment. I’ve done that and more. Have you, Jim? Have you taken the time, before spouting off, to read the case documents? They’re accessible with a click of the mouse. You have such a strong opinion, yet it is not nearly as informed as it could be. A woman was beaten to death. Don’t you care enough about her and her long-suffering family to have the courtesy to read the readily-accessible documents about her murder before expressing an opinion?

Ross says “but golly, there’s a time and place to discuss those issues.” So, we should let there be an interregnum, a decent interval, and then when interest in the subject has died down, only then should ee talk about the murder? What decency did Snuka afford Nancy Argentino? He forfeited any sympathy, any consideration, when he took her life. The time and place to discuss the issue is now, when public attention is focused on Snuka. There should be no decent interval for a murderer.

Finally, Ross says, “And one would think that we’d have enough intelligence to let the family — he had a lot of kids, man. They have friends and they have cousins and I think to just let the family grieve before we go back on this Oliver Stone quest of proving Jimmy Snuka posthumously was a murderer. It’s ridiculous. It’s embarrassing.”

So now it’s an Oliver Stone quest? You denigrate the work of police and prosecutors by implying the case was a fantasy, made-up? Hardly. Give the case files half an hour of time, Jim. Nancy Argentino deserves at least that much from you. If you are going to take the time to defend her murderer, the least you can do is read the documents that, in my opinion, prove Snuka killed her — intentionally or not. Prosecutors are not always right. But most of the time they are. A few cases of innocence proved after conviction don’t prove the entire system is faulty. In my opinion, the documents show, far beyond a reasonable doubt, that Snuka was responsible for Nancy Argentino’s death. But you want us to leave Snuka in peace. No, a society that cares about its members, that believes it should prosecute and imprison those who do violence, should always protect the memory of the victims, and we should hound the perpetrators of violence to their grave and beyond.

Nancy Argentino is dead. Jimmy Snuka killed her. And Jim Ross is dead wrong to have anything nice to say about Snuka. Reserve your sympathy for Nancy Argentino, Jim. She and her family need it. Snuka doesn’t deserve it.

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