Roman Reigns Talks Opting Out of WWE Events amid Coronavirus Concerns

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 10: Roman Reigns poses with his ESPY Award for Best WWE Moment during The 2019 ESPYs at Microsoft Theater on July 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Three-time WWE champion Roman Reigns says he's opted out of recent events, including WrestleMania 36, to protect his newborn children amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Reigns removed himself from the Mania card, which was taped in late March, and hasn't appeared on WWE's weekly television shows since that high-profile absence. It was speculated the decision was based on his previous leukemia diagnosis, but he told TMZ Sports in an interview released Friday that's not the case.

"We just had two newborn twins, twin boys," he said. "They're eight weeks old, so I had to make a decision for them."

Reigns said his own health hasn't been a major concern during his WWE hiatus.

"A lot of people, they think that it was based off of my heath and the history of my fight against leukemia. Talking to my doctors and stuff, I actually am fine, and my immune system is good," he told TMZ Sports. "The drugs that I take in order to fight the leukemia, they don't attack your immune system."

The 34-year-old Florida native was originally scheduled to face Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania. He was replaced by Braun Strowman, who defeated the former WCW standout to become a top-tier champion for the first time.

Reigns and Strowman have since exchanged social media messages. Reigns told the champion to "humble yourself," likely setting the stage for a feud when he returns.

The timetable for that is unclear, though. The Big Dog said he'd love to return to work but noted there are bigger familial and societal issues at play because of COVID-19:

"I wanna be out there, I wanna get back to work, I wanna get back to normal, but I just feel like I have an obligation not only to my family and myself but to my community. And also, to set the example because at the end of the day, we can do a lot of different things and say a lot of different things, but it's through our actions that really speak volumes, and that's what I'm trying to do."

In the meantime, WWE has opted to censor one of its top Superstars, not mentioning his name or showing him in highlights during its TV broadcasts while he remains away from the company.

Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.