WWE’s Celebration Of Pat Patterson Reportedly Amplified Depression Of Former Employee In Weeks Leading To His Suicide
Over the weekend, former WWF ring attendant Tom Cole took his own life. The ex-WWF employee had been suffering from massive depression, some of it due to the recent celebration of Pat Patterson’s life following his death.
Cole had been victimized by former WWF employee Mel Phillips, who was part of a sexual abuse scandal involving young men. Cole, 14 at the time of the incident, has never forgotten despite the WWE doing its best to make sure people forget about it. Phillips was once fired for his misdeeds but hired back on the condition he avoided children at all costs. He did not and was fired again for a sexual incident involving a minor.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer discussed the scandal in a little more detail for those unaware of it and gave more details into the events that eventually led to Cole’s passing. Despite Phillips and Terry Garvin being widely considered the two main offenders in the scandal, Cole believed Pat Patterson knew everything going on and kept silent. While Garvin and Phillips were fired, Patterson resigned after the scandal but came back in later years.
In the weeks following Patterson’s passing, Tom Cole felt the overwhelming praise for Patterson’s legacy overshadowed his involvement in the scandal as it was never brought up. This has been said to be a contributing factor that cause his depression to trigger and led to his suicide.
“One of the things that really bothered him… when Pat Patterson died that meant that Pat Patterson, Terry Garvin, and Mel Phillips were all dead and he was going to talk to Slam Wrestling at that point, but he was very depressed at the fact that WWE lionized Pat Patterson and that everyone lionized Pat Patterson and that almost everyone ignored his aspect of the Patterson story — and most people did, not everyone, but most people did.”
“Paterson never did anything directly to him, but his feeling was that Pat Patterson knew everything and so [Cole felt that Patterson] was not an innocent man. He was not a great man because Pat Patterson knew everything with Terry Garvin and Mel Phillips and he allowed it to happen.”
WWE has been known for lionizing people upon their passing, as many people will reference their cleaning of the reputation of the Ultimate Warrior following his death. However, this particular incident directly affected the life of someone because of the gravity of the incident swept away. Our thoughts remain with Tom Cole’s family at this time.
h/t to Ringside News for the quote
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