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Brian Blair not ready to go down for the count

You might have thought pro-wrestler-turned-politician Brian Blair was, excuse the expression, down for the count.

During his troubling tenure as a Hillsborough County commissioner, he made dubious news with his God-and-country pontificating when there was actual county business at hand, and later for his crybaby ways when he lost a re-election bid and promptly sued the winner.

Then came the not-so-funny news that Blair had been arrested on child abuse charges at home in an early-morning Father's Day scuffle with his sons.

Though Blair has appeared in this space now and again, and been the target of some criticism here, it seemed wrong to take on a personal situation involving his family.

Any reporter who has covered cases with allegations of domestic violence can tell you that truth and circumstance can be hard to pinpoint, given the messy realities of relationships.

In this case, his kids were in the mix, and charges against Blair were dropped, all dutifully reported in the news.

Besides, who would exploit a complex, deeply personal family situation for headlines?

Apparently, as it turns out, Brian Blair.

Blair says scuffle with sons could revive political career, this week's headline read on a story detailing his side of what happened that night.

The article, part of a News Channel 8 interview also printed in the Tampa Tribune, says Blair thinks "the incident could serve as a platform that relaunches him back into public service."

He mentioned issues of parents' rights and government curfews. (Laugh, but some who posted comments to the early stories opined their own child would have needed medical attention in the same situation.)

"I want to turn a negative into a positive," the family values guy was quoted as saying, a line that might make you want to take a very hot shower with very harsh soap.

The Tribune later reported that Blair has all but confirmed plans to run for a state House seat.

About that night: Investigative reports say Blair got into it with his eldest son, 17, in a battle over a missed curfew. His 14-year-old also got involved, and two teenage friends were on hand.

Witnesses said Blair threw the first punch and hit his son in the face, though Blair has denied this.

"Something kind of banged me in the eye and there was a punch thrown at me," he told News Channel 8.

His eldest, who no question threw many more punches that left Blair looking the worse for wear, is described as a defiant kid with a recent history of bad decisions and "anger issues with his father."

See? Messy, complicated and personal.

Charges were dropped when prosecutors determined what Blair did could be legal parental discipline.

Answers I wish he'd given when reporters rightly pursued the rest of the story?

Maybe: "This is a difficult family matter, one I know many parents are dealing with. Thank you."

But to talk about what happened in the context of his political future?

Seems like class with a capital K. (Or is that A?)

In the end, it sounded like Blair hopes what happened will keep him firmly affixed in voters' minds.

We can only hope.

Brian Blair not ready to go down for the count 07/30/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 30, 2009 10:26pm]

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