Sammy Guevara made his return to AEW television on this week's AEW Dynamite when he interfered in the main event tag match while wearing Serpentico's mask and helped The Inner Circle beat Jurassic Express. "The Spanish God" was suspended back on June 22 when audio from a 2016 interview resurfaced where he joked about wanting to "rape" WWE Superstar Sasha Banks. The young star was promptly suspended without pay and was assigned to sensitivity training. Even though the show was taped last week, Guevara's absence from AEW programming lasted exactly 30 days. In a new interview with Sports Illustrated on Thursday, AEW president Tony Khan explained the reasoning behind reinstating Guevara.
"Sammy completed four weeks of extensive sensitivity training, and his curriculum included subject matters of tolerance, gender, race relations, and why people's words matter," Khan said. "During his suspension, he was very contrite. I asked him to use that time to try and become a better person, and I think he did. Sammy was off television for a month and suspended without pay for 30 days, and I think it was the right time for Sammy to come back because he's shown that he's very sorry and that he can change. He's spent every day over the past month trying to prove that."
Khan confirmed that Guevara's salary was donated to the Women's Center of Jacksonville throughout his suspension.
"I meant what I said about re-evaluating his status with the company based on his conduct," Khan continued. "Sammy needed to make a lot of strides to keep his job and make amends for stuff he shouldn't have said. None of us knew he said those things, and it's stuff that was years old, but that doesn't make it right. I think Sammy was very happy to have an opportunity to apologize, publicly and privately, and do something to turn a terrible comment he made into something positive."
"I've made stupid, inappropriate and extremely offensive comments in my past. In my idiotic mind, I thought I was being funny in using words and terms that represent nothing but horror and pain. I am truly sorry for my hurtful words and actions, and I will never forgive myself," Guevara wrote on Twitter. "I also want to apologize to @sashabankswwe for my unacceptable comments. She's an amazing person who didn't deserve to be the brunt of my offensive remarks. I spoke with her earlier & she helped me learn a gigantic lesson & I thank her for that. Once again, I'm sincerely sorry."
In a separate interview with SI, Banks talked about how she addressed the situation.
"For me, being a role model and a leader is what I have to give back to the universe," Banks wrote. "It's not easy to be so exposed and so open and so raw, but I'm here to show people that I'm a real person, too. I am just lucky and fortunate enough to be living my dream in front of millions of people. If that connects with people, if that resonates, all I can do is be myself and hopefully show people that no matter what they go through — whether it's good, bad, or hard — we're all in this together.
"As you can see on social media, I left my comment out there, I made my statement. I don't feel like I need to touch upon it any more than I did, but as a role model, I have to lead by example," she added. "I can't show hate with hate. I only can show through education, dignity, and integrity."
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