Father of dead wrestler targets McMahon

Republican Linda McMahon just can't shake the negative stories surrounding her time at the helm of World Wresting Entertainment. 

After defending the company last week in the wake of the death of former WWE wrestler Lance McNaught, McMahon is facing a new broadside from McNaught's father. He ripped McMahon and her husband Vince McMahon in a Connecticut newspaper Thursday. 

Harley McNaught told The Day that after his son's death he was planning to stay silent when it came to McMahon and the WWE, but after the Republican's comments last week decided to speak out.

"I might have met him once," McMahon said as she insisted that the company could not be blamed for deaths of its employees outside the ring.

That response has left Harley McNaught and his son's other survivors furious.

"I've been with him on two different WWE functions where she came up to him and knew him by name," McNaught said in an interview from his office in San Antonio, where Lance died, aged 29, on Aug. 13.

"She disrespected him," McNaught said. "She disrespected my family."

The father also said he thinks McMahon and her husband, who remains at the helm of their $1.02 billion corporation, know exactly what a toll the driving pace of wrestling competition can take on individual wrestlers struggling, as his son did, to work through injuries and not be passed over for a chance to be in the spotlight.

Lance McNaught "would have cut his arm off for Vince McMahon, but it wasn't there in return," his father said. "He don't care any more than the man in the moon for them, other than as dollar signs."

McNaught's death has revived the primary question that has nagged McMahon as the Republican's campaign for the U.S. Senate roars ever closer to Democrat Richard Blumenthal in opinion polls: Has the rags-to-riches saga of Stamford-based WWE come at the expense of the health and well-being of the wrestlers? Or are the company and the candidate being unfairly asked to answer for the private behavior of other adults?

The story is among the worst yet for McMahon when it comes to her WWE past and it's one that will be hard for her to ignore. McNaught struggled with an addiction to prescription painkillers and died of heart failure in early August.

To this point, the McMahon camp has largely been able to minimize issues related to WWE drug abuse and other company practices that McMahon's opponents have called into question. 

McMahon is spending at a breakneck pace according to her most recent campaign filing. Her campaign spent close to $2.5 million in just the first three weeks of July.  

She still trails Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in polls, but has steadily gained on him throughout the summer.   

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