Compared to most athletes and entertainers, wrestlers rarely receive much attention or credit.

That could be put down to the fact that wrestling is a predetermined contest and therefore not considered legitimate.

This is slightly unfair, as the performers risk their lives and health every time they step into a ring to entertain fans around the world.

Beside their in-ring credentials rarely receiving the acknowledgement that they should, wrestlers as people have shown themselves to be far more receptive to progressive ideas and equality than most celebrities.

Individuals like Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn, David Starr and Zack Sabre Jr have shown on multiple occasions that they are prepared to use their status to highlight inequality and promote noteworthy movements.

One wrestler who does this time and time again is John Cena.

Via:Via: Giphy

As a 16-time world champion, the 40-year-old is easily one of the most famous and celebrated wrestlers of all time. So much so that he is now making waves in Hollywood.

Since making this transition, it has allowed Cena to speak more freely about issues that his WWE character would rarely get the chance to address.

For instance, when asked recently about the possibility of WWE introducing a transgender wrestler, he didn't need to think twice about offering an encouraging answer.

Speaking to TMZ Sports, he said:

I'm a storyteller, my friend – and that's what we do in WWE.

It's not segregated to sex, race, creed, religion, any of that – so as long as the story's good, it belongs in WWE.

Considering his status as one of WWE's top performers and his growing status in Hollywood, this should be seen as a big deal – especially when other celebs have shown to be of a transphobic mindset.

This, of course, isn't the first time that he has shown an attempt to understand people who come from a different background to his.

While promoting his last movie, the animated family film Ferdinand, he gave this refreshing answer to MTV Australia when asked about judging others.

He said:

I think we can all make an argument for 'we've been judged wrong' or 'we've been misunderstood', because as a human being you can't help you [sic] use your eyes, you see something, you automatically assume that, like, 'OK, this is like this.' 

And if you take the time to get to know some folks and who they are, it's usually a pleasant surprise and there is more than meets the eye.

I think I could tell you a bunch of times I've been misunderstood, but I think that's something we all go through.

On a similar issue, he was asked by Larry King in 2014 about his opinions on his fellow wrestler Darren Young and the NFL football player Michael Sam, who had both recently come out as gay.

Cena responded by sharing an intimate story about his brother who is also gay and how he supported him when he finally came out to the rest of his family.

And on the subject of people coming out as LGBT+, Cena said:

You only got one life to live, you might as well live it the way you want to. Because living unhappy – that ain't no way to wake up every day.

Perhaps the most famous example of Cena's approach to people and his acceptance of other creeds and cultures came during an advert he made for Ad Council for Independence Day, 2016.

Cena touches on how many minority groups make up the population of America and that patriotism shouldn't just be an exclusive love for a country but for its people.

In the groundbreaking video, which features two gay dads and representatives from other minorities, Cena says:

Almost half the country belongs to minority groups – people who are lesbian, African-American, and bi, and transgender, and native American, and proud of it.

What's more American than the freedom to celebrate the things that make us, us?

It's not just minorities that Cena has spoken up for and tried to defend either.

He is famed for his work with the children's charity the Make-A-Wish Foundation which grants the wishes of terminally ill children around the world.

At the time of writing, Cena has granted more than 5,000 wishes for the foundation, a record for the charity that is unlikely to be passed anytime soon.

Despite all this, you might still feel that Cena is a masculine figure who is obsessed with his biceps and being a strong male character.

That may be true, but that doesn't mean that he isn't in touch with his feminine side, as was evident when he dressed as his wife, fellow wrestler Nikki Bella, for an episode of the reality show Total Bellas.

With Cena having a new film in cinemas right now, the comedy Blockers, and with WWE's biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania, arriving on April 6, it's a great time to really appreciate all the hard work that he has done and continues to do, to promote equal rights and help others less fortunate than him.

So, next time you want to chant "John Cena Sucks", just think about what a thoroughly decent person he has shown himself to be over the years.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)