It’s only been a week since LaVar Ball and his basketball playing sons visited Raw and basically had a train wreck on live TV, which included 15-year-old LaMelo uttering a racial slur into a live microphone. The WWE immediately apologized, but that didn’t stop The New Day from poking fun at accidental N-bombs just a day later.
The day after the LeMelo Ball incident, the New Day appeared on SmackDown Live and did a subtle parody of the other time someone accidently used the N-word on a live wrestling broadcast (not counting the time Vince McMahon once said it on purpose to John Cena, which is a whole different story), which happened at WCW’s Spring Stampede PPV in 1997. Booker T, then a member of Harlem Heat, infamously dropped the racial slur in the middle of a heated promo. Then he made this face, assuming he was about to be fired:
Here’s the New Day using the same language in a promo against the Usos, but stopping short of using the offending word (if the video isn’t cued up, go to about the 1:10 mark).
The New Day probably thought it was a funny and clever inside joke, that only a small percentage of those watching would actually catch. Unfortunately, Booker T himself was particularly unhappy that the WWE brought up a moment that he considers one of the worst of his career.
On his “Heated Conversations” podcast, Booker T took the time to explain himself and actually makes plenty of really good points. Lengthy quote coming:
“I just want to make it publicly known that I don’t condone that at all, especially coming off of [what happened on] Monday night. We as a people, we gotta know when it’s time to speak up and when it’s time to shut up. My mother taught me that a long time ago. If you don’t know, it’ll come back and haunt you. [The WCW promo blooper] has haunted me for this many years. [ … ] I implore these young people out there to know exactly what they’re doing and how they are affecting our young people that are coming up. That’s the most important thing, as far as I’m concerned. Me personally, I know I’ve made mistakes. That word that I said on national television in front of the world -– I wish I could go back and erase it. I wish that I could take it back. I wish that WWE would never do something like that ever again.
“Me personally, I don’t appreciate it. I don’t know if [WWE] knew that the parody was gonna go down, because I know those guys do a lot of their own stuff. I don’t think that we as a company need to go that route. I think that parody should not have ever been shown on television, because it wasn’t a great moment for us as black people. For us as black people, it was one of our worst moments.
“Just like the [LaMelo] Ball thing. The kid is 15 years old [and] I don’t blame him or anything like that. It was something that slipped out just like myself [in 1997], it was something that slipped out. For me as a person that’s trying to set an example for us as black people and for me to let so many people down -– even the ones that thought it was the cool -– even the ones that thought it was an anthem [ … ] I want them to know that it was my worst day that I could have ever had being a black man, and letting so many of our people down by calling us that word or saying that word in any realm [or] any form was definitely not right by any means. I wish I could take it right back.
“That one blemish is the only thing they have over my head that they could put out there to try to make me look bad in any way shape, form, or fashion. Of course, I could put a spin on it … but does that make it right? No, it doesn’t make it right. It’s still a stain, a blemish, a mark that no surgical procedure could ever repair. So I just want young people to know exactly what they’re saying and when they’re saying it.” (Transcript via WrestlingNews.co)
We don’t know for sure whether the New Day got this inside joke approved by WWE management, or if they just went with it. We get the feeling that Big E, Kofi, and Xavier get a lot of freedom with their mic time, but the WWE may be keeping a closer eye on this after this incident.