Kevin Owens has confirmed he went to Vince McMahon and expressed his concerns regarding the lack of face masks being worn at the WWE Performance Center.
On July 3, PWInsider reported WWE had instituted a face mask policy, stating talent would be fined $500 for not wearing a mask and repeat offenders would be fined $1,000.
Fightful Select reported two days later that a WWE star expressed his concerns about proper measures not being taken seriously enough, such as mask utilization and social distancing. Pat Laprade on Les anti-pods de la Lutte said it was Owens who went to McMahon to express his concerns.
Owens didn't attend the June 17 tapings following a second positive COVID-19 test in WWE, but, after speaking with his wife, returned for the July 3 tapings.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Owens confirmed it was him who went to McMahon. It was him all along.
"It’s been brought up—at first, the masks weren’t being taken seriously enough. Eventually, a fine system was implemented to make sure people took it seriously. That came from me. I thought that the masks weren’t being worn seriously enough, so I went and talked to the people in charge. They immediately did what they could to remedy the situation. I don’t blame anybody for the mask thing. It’s easy to forget how important those masks are. Some people just straight up believe that the masks don’t make a difference, and that’s their belief. But if we’re all going to work together and we’re all trying to keep each other safe, I think it matters. If you’ve had somebody in your family affected by this the way my family was, it’s a lot easier to remember that these masks make a huge difference. These masks do make a difference, and I felt it was important for people to take that seriously. I was pleased that the company felt the same way and made sure to get the message out to everybody that this is a big deal. That’s why, in the end, I decided to come back. I feel comfortable going back to work, and I feel as safe as I can be there," he said.
Owens has publicly advocated for fans to wear masks, saying data and medical professionals say they make a difference. Owens previously revealed that his wife lost her grandfather to COVID-19.
Let’s try this. pic.twitter.com/SJXJSpNfd7— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) June 29, 2020
"I think they’re important. It’s like I said in my video, if you feel they’re not and you decide not to wear them, that’s your choice. Just don’t make people feel bad or belittle them for deciding to wear them. I’ve been in public and been called a sheep for wearing a mask. That’s just so ridiculous. All it comes down to is being kind to each other. Whatever your beliefs are, all you’re doing is picking one source of information against another. And the person that disagrees with you, they’re just picking a different source of information," he said. "Just be kind and be respectful. Some places force people to wear masks if they want to enter, and I know that causes a big stir. But if you don’t want to wear a mask, then just don’t go there. It’s not that hard. Be kind and use common sense. That’s a good way to live, and that’s what I encourage more than anything. Let’s be kind and not ridicule each other for not having the same belief."
Owens is scheduled to compete against Seth Rollins on Monday's episode of WWE Raw.
Fightful will have live coverage of Raw beginning at 8 p.m. ET.