We’ve all seen the reports, or perhaps some of you haven’t; regardless, as fans we have all noticed that WWE Announcer Mauro Ranallo has been absent at the SmackDown LIVE announce table as of late. At first, it was speculated that he had not arrived to the March 14th edition of the show due to a snow storm (and was blasted by other announcers in the business); however, Ranallo has been missing from action since that fateful SD LIVE since and even missed the Grandest Stage of Them All, Wrestlemania 33.

Week after week, reports seem to be flooding the internet with speculation about Ranallo and his absence from his SmackDown post. As per these internet reports, Ranallo, who is an advocate for mental health issues and has courageously come forward to let the world know that he too suffers from this, is apparently having huge issues with fellow broadcaster John Layfield, better known to WWE fans as JBL.

Sadly, JBL has been linked to various adult-workplace bullying cases in the past during his tenure with the WWE, stemming from numerous backstage antics. It seems that these stories are once again surfacing on the internet. The current reports allege that JBL was seemingly ‘at it again’ when it came to Ranallo, and clearly Mauro had had enough.

I don’t think bully to any extent is acceptable, but adult bullying is reprehensible. I know that JBL comes from an old-school mentality and the WWE worked a lot different ‘back in the day’ when JBL was an in-ring competitor. Hazing seemed like a huge rite of passage decades ago when JBL was enjoying his ‘hey day’ in sports entertainment and he reportedly may have been at the helm of ensuring that talents ‘had what it took’ to endure the long haul within the company when they first entered the roster. Still, the recent case with Ranallo, if bully was in fact a layer to this situation, in my opinion was unacceptable. I’m not implying that up-and-coming talents should be hazed, but Ranallo is not even an in-ring competitor, rather, he’s an announcer. Additionally, bullying and mental health issues are not to be taken lightly currently when so many people have lost their lives due to the toll that bullying has taken.

Lastly, with the WWE Be-A-Star initiative, I’m shocked that the WWE hasn’t taken a bigger stance on this issue. Forget about Ranallo’s tremendous contributions to SD LIVE’s announce team, if JBL is the reason that Mauro has not been able to show up for work, this situation needs to addressed in the public. I understand that JBL has tremendous tenure with the company, has accomplished a significant amount of things during his career, and in a lot of ways is a WWE legend – I get that. However, if these reports are true, it seems his workplace bullying behaviors have been swept under the carpet for far too long, and action needs to be taken.

Children are children; yes, bullying should not be accepted in schools and I believe the real root of that issue if trying to figure out the pain that child bullies are experiencing that makes them want to lash out in this nature – as well as working hand-in-hand to prove that bullying is not tolerate in the education system. However, how are we to teach our children there is a better way if as adults, we know about a situation and are unwilling to truly address it? There has been no comment from the WWE other than stating this (in regard to Ranallo’s recent SmackDown LIVE absences):

“Mauro Ranallo remains under contract with WWE until August 12, 2017”

Which to me, is no real statement about the issue at all. Interesting enough, amongst all the buzz and rumors flying around, Ranallo recently posted this on his Twitter account:

It’s true, the truth cannot be hidden and if JBL is the real reason why Ranallo, who has always been up front about his mental health issues and should not be punished as such, then Layfield needs to be reprimanded. Not only for what he’s done to Mauro, but justice needs to be served for all he’s done in the past. I’m not implying he should be fired, but at the very least he could be served a suspension or taken of broadcasting team, maybe even simply given another job within the company; his show on the Network is great and there are a plethora of other things JBL can be doing at this point. But having a potential bully as the voice of SD LIVE, pay-per-views, and even Wrestlemania, is not a good action for a company that boasts about being against bullies.

In terms of Mauro Ranallo, I’m a fan for life. He brought an incredible resurge to the WWE announce table that the show hasn’t been seen in years. True talent can never be silenced and I applaud him for his professionalism around the entire matter. I also applaud him for his advocacy around mental health and coming out and saying, “I suffer from this too”. There is such an unfortunate stigma around mental health these days that is thankfully slowly diminishing. It can’t be easy to come out and proclaim you have an issue with anything, especially in an industry that boasts strong personalities; both in body and mind. But revealing that weakness takes a brave and strong soul. Mauro Ranallo has not only become an inspiration to me, but to many out there who suffer daily with mental health.